Solar shining past wind

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Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts that 36.7GW of new PV capacity will be added globally in 2013, compared with 35.5GW of new wind farms. This year is set to be the first year in which PV adds more capacity than wind does. 

In 2012, onshore and offshore wind together added 46.6GW, while PV added 30.5GW. But this year, the world’s two largest wind markets, China and the U.S., experienced a slowdown, which is opening the way for the fast growing PV market to overtake wind energy. Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts that 36.7GW of new PV capacity will be added globally in 2013, compared with 35.5GW of new wind farms (on and offshore), creating the opportunity for PV capacity to pass wind capacity for the first time.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts wind installations to shrink by nearly 25% in 2013, to their lowest level since 2008, reflecting slowdowns in the US and China caused by policy uncertainty.

Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, commented: “The dramatic cost reductions in PV, combined with new incentive regimes in Japan and China, are making possible further, strong growth in volumes. Europe is a declining market, because many countries there are rapidly moving away from incentives, but it will continue to see new PV capacity added.”

Despite the change in rankings for 2013, wind and PV are expected to contribute almost equally to the world’s new electricity capacity additions in the long run according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It forecasts PV to expand from 2% in 2012, to 16% by 2030. Wind (on and offshore) is expected to expand from 5% of the world’s total installed power generation capacity in 2012, to 17% in 2030. 

After years of oversupply and consolidation, technology suppliers in the PV and wind sectors may finally see a move back to profit this year. “Cost cuts and a refocusing on profitable markets and business segments have bolstered the financial performance of wind turbine makers and the surviving solar manufacturers, said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Stock market investors have been noticing this change, and clean energy shares have rebounded by 66% since their lows of July 2012.”

Further details on demand and supply in the PV and wind sectors can be found in the Q3 2013 Wind and PV Market Outlooks, published this month for clients of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Insight Service. A Solar Thermal Electricity Generation Market Outlook will be published in October.