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Technologies fit for a new era for utility-scale solar

The deployment of solar PV across the world is on an upward trajectory, with recent reports highlighting the growing popularity of both commercial and utility-scale projects.

Despite the disruption of the past 12-18 months, in its most recent Renewable Energy Market Update, the International Energy Agency (IEA), said that in 2020, annual renewable capacity additions increased
45 percent to almost 280 GW, the highest year-on-year increase since 1999.

It is also forecasting that ‘exceptionally high-capacity additions will become the ‘new normal’ in 2021 and 2022, with renewables accounting for 90 percent of new power capacity expansion globally’. Within this, it says that solar PV development will continue to ‘break records’, with annual additions reaching 162 GW by 2022, almost 50 percent higher than the pre-pandemic level of 2019.

In particular, the share of utility-scale applications is forecast to increase from over 55 percent in 2020 to almost 70 percent in 2022. This level of growth can be seen in many major markets, including the United States, where the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) forecast that, after several years of uncertainty, large companies and utilities have led to massive increases in utility-scale solar procurement. As of Q1 2021, the contracted pipeline sits at 77 GW, with most of those projects slated for completion before 2024.

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