In 2018, the renewable energy sector remained robust despite tariff concerns and new tax worries. The solar market is expected to see even more growth this year with many positive trends expected that could lead to growth in solar stocks on Wall Street such as TerraForm Power (TERP), Ormat Technologies (ORA), and First Solar, Inc. (FSLR). Last year the United States installed 1.7 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV capacity in Q3 2018 to reach 60 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity. This is enough to power 11.3 million US homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
According to the Deloitte 2019 Renewable Energy Outlook, states, cities, communities, and businesses are responding with increasingly ambitious sustainability goals that are driving solar market growth forward.Over 200 mayors representing cities in every US state have now signed onto the Environment America Research & Policy Center’s “Mayors for Solar Energy” letter, which embraces a collective vision for solar-powered communities. These mayors are calling for solar energy to be a much larger part of our energy mix than it is today.
“Expanding solar power helps residents and businesses benefit from lower energy costs while providing more local control of energy and improving our communities’ resilience,” reads the letter. Republicans as well as Democrats have signed on.
The US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) has forecast in its “Short Term Energy Outlook” that solar generation will move from 211,000 MWh per day in 2017 to 260,000 MWh/d in 2018, a 23% increase. It will then move to 290,000 MWh/d this year, representing another 12% increase. Big business has also been going in on corporate solar procurement in the U.S. with an increasing portion of U.S. utility PV demand being driven by corporate, non-utility entities looking for savings or to reach voluntary renewable energy targets.
On a global scale, solar power is also booming. Solar energy capacity increased by 94 GW last year, an increase of 24% Asia continued to dominate global growth with a 64 GW increase (about 70% of the global expansion in 2018). “Through its compelling business case, renewable energy has established itself as the technology of choice for new power generation capacity,” said The International Renewable Energy Agency Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “The strong growth in 2018 continues the remarkable trend of the last five years, which reflects an ongoing shift towards renewable power as the driver of global energy transformation.
“Renewable energy deployment needs to grow even faster, however, to ensure that we can achieve the global climate objectives and Sustainable Development Goals,” continued Mr. Amin. “Countries taking full advantage of their renewables potential will benefit from a host of socioeconomic benefits in addition to decarbonising their economies.” India, one of the largest and most populated countries in the world, is now investing more money into solar power than coal for the first time.
This is according to a report by the International Energy Agency which states that’s the country’s investments in renewable sources are now outpacing those in fossil fuels. Solar and wind now make up 7 percent of the global power market according to Wood Mackenzie, a global energy, chemicals, renewables, metals and mining research and consultancy group.
In order to achieve the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s mid-range pathways to keep temperatures from rising less than 1.5 degrees Celsius, it would require renewables to provide 70 to 85 percent of electricity by 2050.