Clean Edge Inc. (Portland, Oregon, US) has released a report which finds that while lower prices drove a record 30.9 GW of global solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in 2012, these same prices resulted in a 19% decline in total industry revenues to USD 79.7 billion over the year.
“Clean Energy Trends 2013” notes that this is the first market contraction in the 12 years that it has tracked PV industry revenues. However, the report notes a number of positive industry trends including big investors moving into PV and the growth of solar as a service.
“2012 was a year of extreme uncertainty for clean energy markets, as venture investors pulled back and high-profile bankruptcies became a partisan wedge in the presidential election, all while climate disruptions brought clean tech back into the limelight,” said Clean Edge Co-Founder and Managing Director Ron Pernick.
“But a key lesson emerged from last year – the focus for investors and industry for the near- to mid-term will be on deployment.”
|Renewable energy (brown bars) made up almost half of the generation capacity added in the US in 2012|
PV industry to grow to USD 124 billion by 2022
Clean Edge estimates that the global average price of PV installations has fallen from USD 7.00 per watt in 2008 to USD 2.58 per watt in 2012. The company expects prices to fall further, but annual PV industry revenues to increase to USD 124 billion by 2022.
The report also observes the expansion of “big money” into solar, noting that billionaire investor Warren Buffet's MidAmerican Energy increased its solar holdings during the year with the USD 2 billion acquisition of the Antelope Valley Solar Project.
This is in the context of overall clean energy investments falling an estimated 11% to USD 269 billion 2011-2012, and decreasing to 19% of total venture investment in the United States.
Renewables making up bigger share of new projects
The report covers multiple renewable energy technologies, and notes that renewables are making up a bigger share of new projects.
Renewables comprised almost half of the new generation added in the United States in 2012, led by wind, while in Europe, PV alone made up 37% of all generation capacity added during the year.
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