Beyond COVID: Renewables to plug post-pandemic gaps, and solar’s terawatt potential


Image: Juwi.

This is the third weekly instalment of our Beyond COVID series. See here for the first instalment, charting key news and developments for the week going from 1 to 7 June 2020, and here for the second instalment, covering news from the week commencing 8 June 2020.

Prior to this series, our PV Tech COVID-19 tracker instalments documented the pandemic's direct impacts from January to May. See here for our full archive.

The global solar industry continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and chart its role in the recovery, with numerous stories this week lauding the PV sector’s potential to lead from the front.

After months charting how the pandemic had affected the solar industry, PV Tech is now shifting the spotlight to the longer term to uncover how the solar ecosystem will move beyond COVID-19.

Monday 15 June 2020

More than 27,000 clean jobs in the US lost in May

The week began on a particularly sombre note as new analysis of unemployment data from the US revealed that another 27,000 clean energy jobs had been lost last month, taking the total number of US clean energy workers to have been made redundant since the onset of the pandemic to more than 620,000 – nearly 100,000 of which have come from renewables.

While it represented the third straight month of job losses in clean energy sectors, there was a noticeable improvement with the numbers of job losses now beginning to tail off. However there are growing concerns that should jobs continue to be lost, the sector will be unable to resume in earnest post-pandemic without a “significant policy response”.

“We need help from Congress to get American clean energy workers back to work. With commonsense measures like temporary refundability and a delay in the phasedown of renewable energy tax credits, Congress can help restore these good-paying jobs so the renewable sector can continue to provide the affordable, pollution-free power American consumers and businesses want and deserve,” Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO, ACORE.

UN: Plugging renewable ambition gap is ‘one of smartest’ ways out of pandemic

Countries have in low-cost solar and wind a chance to revive economies battered by COVID-19 but also rekindle the fight against climate change, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), BloombergNEF (BNEF) and the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

The trio recently analysed commitments by state and private players and concluded that current pledges would deliver 826GW of new green energy by 2030, far below the 3,000GW the world would need by that year to avert catastrophic global heating.

According to the new review, the present 826GW pipeline – split (see table below) between government (721GW) and private sector targets (105GW) – would also fall short of the deployment that was achieved last decade, when 1.2GW of solar, wind and others was installed worldwide.

PV Tech’s full coverage of the UN report can be read here.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Solar set for ‘Terawatt age’ by 2022 as SPE highlights importance of post-COVID stimulus

The global solar industry could enter the terawatt era by as early as 2022, but only if national governments set appropriate, post-COVID stimulus measures in motion, trade body SolarPower Europe said this week.

In this year’s edition of SPE’s Global Market Outlook, the trade body has placed solar deployment for 2019 at 116.9GW, representative of a 13% increase on deployment the year prior. 

The rebound could be stark providing governments around the world opt to make renewables central to post-COVID economic stimulus packages. Such policy programmes hold the potential to light a fire under global solar development, triggering a prospective 34% leap in installs to 150GW next year.

This could be followed by a further 168GW in 2022, enough added capacity to take worldwide solar capacity over the 1TW threshold just four years after it celebrated surpassing 0.5TW.

SPE then expects an additional 184GW to be installed in 2023 and a further 200GW in 2024, representative of annual growth rates of 9%.

For PV Tech’s full analysis of the Global Market Outlook, click here.

Wednesday 17 June 2020

US residential installer PetersenDean files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

The economic fallout of the pandemic has continued, and it was revealed this week that US residential solar installer PetersenDean filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy citing the pandemic’s impact to its business.

Red Rose Inc, the parent company of the California-based installer, filed a voluntary petition with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada on 11 June, expressing a willingness to restructure its business following the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on solar installs and other facets of its business.

The US residential solar market been dented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and California has been amongst the hardest hit of US states. Strict shelter-in-place measures have been in force and last month Enphase warned that anecdotal evidence suggested installs in California had fallen by as much as 50% as a result of the pandemic.


US trade show SPI takes to the outdoors with new October dates

The number of events to have either rescheduled or changed entirely as a result of the pandemic continues to grow and Solar Power International, the US’ largest solar and energy storage exhibition, is no different, announcing new dates (21 – 22 October 2020) this week.

And the trade show will have a more ‘Al Fresco’ feel than before, with the event now taking place in the Bronze Lot car park of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Organisers Solar Power Events announced the change in dates and venue earlier this week, inviting attendees to a “unique experience… under the open skies of Nevada”. The entire exhibition will now take place outside, with indoor events largely curtailed in a bid to stem the transition of the novel coronavirus.

More details about the change to SPI 2020 can be found here.

6 June 2023
Join us in Napa to unlock the key to reliable PV module supply to the U.S. market in 2023 & 2024. We'll also be gathering the main players in the US solar market for some wine tasting!
27 June 2023
Join us in London for 2 days as we look at the UK’s new landscape for utility & rooftop solar. Understand the new opportunities within this GW-plus annual market!

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