US and China set to add almost 600GW of capacity this decade but risks to deployment exist, says report

Solar deployment in the US is highly dependent on the country’s trade and tariff policy, said the report. Image: SunEdison.

The US and China will account for a combined 57% of total forecasted solar capacity additions through 2030, with the countries adding 151.3GW and 436.9GW of solar capacity, respectively. Both countries have risks to this development, however, with the US needing to overcome trade and tariff problems, while China needs to ensure the reliability of PV production.

That’s according to Fitch Solutions’ latest Solar Power Investment Hotspots report, which also names Namibia as the “solar power market to watch this quarter” as forecast capacity is expected to increase 203% over the next ten years.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

Improvement in the US but barriers remain

The US is set to remain the second largest solar market behind China, with solar’s share of the power mix increasing from 3.3% today to 9% by 2030. Solar power capacity is forecast to increase from 89.9GW at the end of 2020 to 241.2GW in 2030, with solar generation to hit 398TWh, according to the report.

This outlook was supported by a “sizeable utility-scale project pipeline and continued momentum for small-scale projects”.

Moreover, increasing interest in hybrid solar-plus-storage projects and increased support from the Biden Administration has presented “significant upside risks” to Fitch Solutions’ forecast, particularly through increased funding, efforts to strengthen and expand US grid infrastructure, and the ongoing potential for a boost from solar tax credits, said the report.   

“But elevated downside risks will remain over the near term due to elevated prices throughout the global solar value chain as well as ongoing uncertainty in relation to trade policies and tariffs within the US solar sector,” it said.

This is a reference to the White House’s Withhold Release Order (WRO) on products from Hoshine Industry and its subsidiaries as well as the US’ Section 201 tariffs on solar cells and modules. PV Tech Premium has deciphered what the US’s WRO means for the solar sector.

On 24 November, The US International Trade Commission (ITC) recommended that the Section 201 safeguard tariffs on solar cells and modules be extended despite calls from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) to phase out the Section 201 tariffs on certain crystalline silicon PV cells from China. An exemption for bifacial solar panels from Section 201 tariffs has been reinstated after a decision passed down by the ITC.

US President Joe Biden will make a final decision on the Section 201 tariffs after they expire in February 2022.

China set to storm ahead if production issues addressed

Meanwhile, China is set to remain the largest solar market by “a wide margin” over the next decade, with its market set to account for 42% of all global solar capacity additions through 2030. The Fitch report forecast that China’s installed solar power capacity will increase from 253.4GW at the end of 2020 to 690.3GW in 2030. China is targeting 1.2TW of renewables by 2030 in its latest Nationally Determined Contribution submitted to the UN.

Solar power generation will reach 771TWh by 2030, according to the report, and solar’s share of the power generation mix will increase from 3.5% to 7.5% over the same period, it said. Fitch Solutions’ outlook is “supported by a sizeable utility-scale solar projects pipeline, including 5GW and 3GW solar facilities in Inner Mongolia and Qinghai, respectively.”

It also had a “increasingly positive outlook” for Chinese distributed solar, which it expects to “drive growth within the market”, as a result of “government subsidies for small-scale solar systems as well as increased consumer interest for commercial and residential-scale self-generation systems”.

China’s National Energy Association (NEA) has mandated for the installation of solar power systems on residential, commercial and government buildings. The NEA estimates that this programme could add between 130GW to 170GW of additional solar capacity by the end of 2023, said the report. In October, PV Tech reported that distributed generation is the future of solar PV in China, with 48GW expected to be deployed next year in the country.  

The report noted that elevated prices, supply chain disruptions, energy crises and hikes in the cost of raw material as risks to China’s solar future, although it expects China to remain the primary product of solar PV equipment over the next decade. The market “currently accounts for the production of 64% of silicon materials, 80% of solar PV modules, and nearly 100% of solar ingots and wafers,” said the report.

Solar capacity by country and growth of ‘outperformers’ China and the US. Source: Fitch Solutions.

Namibia represents a favourable policy environment

Finally, Fitch Solutions’ report highlighted Namibia as a market that holds “significant potential for additional investment” as the country is forecast to grow its solar capacity from 145MW to nearly 440MW, “accounting for 86% of the market’s forecasted non-hydro renewables growth.”

“Namibia’s solar power segment has generated increasing investor interest over the past couple of years, with a handful of projects under development,” said the report.

It pointed to a joint project by Globeleq Generation and Natura Energy, which signed a partnership agreement for the construction of the 81MW TeraSun Energy solar PV power plant in Windhoek as an example of such investment.

Furthermore, the report said that Namibia has “some of the highest levels of solar potential in the world”, averaging 300 days of sunshine per year, and that in 2019 “the Namibian government approved changes in regulations to liberalise the electricity market, which increases opportunities for private sector investment within the solar sector”.

27 June 2024
9am BST
FREE WEBINAR -This special webinar will take a deep dive into the latest PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings pyramid, capturing the relative bankability status of the top 70-80 PV module suppliers globally. In addition to revealing the latest ranking of global PV module suppliers, PV Tech’s Head of Research, Finlay Colville, will show the depth of analysis and commentary included within the report for module suppliers. A key output from the webinar will be to learn which PV module suppliers have moved up the rankings pyramid in recent years and why this growth has been achieved. Conversely, some of the companies that have fallen down the rankings will be discussed, in particular those suffering from market-share losses and financial problems.
8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
17 June 2025
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

Read Next

June 24, 2024
During SNEC 2024, PV Tech spoke with Chuan Lu, chairman and CEO of Astronergy, about the company’s strategy and shipment forecast.
June 24, 2024
The Intersolar Europe 2024 trade show closed its doors for another year on Friday (21st June). Ahead of further coverage and interviews from the conference, this piece will collate a few of the key takeaways that we saw on the ground at the show last week.
June 24, 2024
At SNEC 2024, PV Tech spoke with Allen Geng, sales director at Yingli Solar, about the company’s branding and strengths in n-type technology.
June 24, 2024
The US has yet again been named the most attractive market for renewables investment and deployment opportunities, according to EY.
June 21, 2024
LONGi has announced a commercial M6 size wafer-level silicon-perovskite tandem solar cell with 30.1% efficiency at Intersolar Europe 2024.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece
Solar Media Events
July 9, 2024
Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore
Upcoming Webinars
July 10, 2024
9am (BST) / 10am (CEST)
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland