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Asia Pacific solar capacity set to triple by 2030

Aerial view of windmill and Solar panel, photovoltaic, alternative electricity source - concept of sustainable resources on a sunny day, Bac Phong, Thuan Bac, Ninh Thuan, VietnamBy: Nguyen Quang Ngoc Tonkin
Aerial view of windmill and Solar panel, photovoltaic, alternative electricity source - concept of sustainable resources on a sunny day, Bac Phong, Thuan Bac, Ninh Thuan, VietnamBy: Nguyen Quang Ngoc Tonkin

As national carbon-neutral targets come into focus, Asia Pacific solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity could triple by 2030 to 1500 gigawatts (GW), with Indonesia potentially the fastest expanding market by the end of the decade, according to new research from Wood Mackenzie.

China will remain leader in the region and globally, adding 619 GW of solar PV capacity over this decade to 2030. The country’s strong policy push and ambitious solar targets mean it will contribute over 60% of Asia Pacific’s solar PV capacity by 2030, reported Wood Mackenzie.

Runner-up India is expected to add 138 GW by 2030 after rebounding from an installation decline due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020-21.

Japan and South Korea will follow as third and fourth to install 63 GW and 58 GW, respectively, in the next 10 years. However, high costs have caused a slowdown in new additions in Japan, while South Korea shows the opposite trend. Still, Japan continues to have one of the highest solar PV penetrations in power generation, growing to 13% share by 2030, reckons the energy research company.

Coming in at fifth, Vietnam will add 45 GW of solar PV capacity this decade. Feed-in tariffs (FiT) in the country have succeeded in stimulating 5.5 GW and 13.8 GW solar installation in 2019 and 2020, respectively. This outstanding record also made Vietnam the largest solar market in Southeast Asia since 2019. However, installation is expected to slow in the next five years, and then gradually pick up due to the gap between subsidy phase-out and economical grid parity.

“By 2030, Vietnam will have the second highest solar PV penetration in power generation in the region. At 15% share of its total power generation, Vietnam is second only to Australia and will lead Japan,” said Wood Mackenzie consultant Xin Zhang.

While not as aggressive as other Asia Pacific markets in solar PV capacity expansion, Australia can expect 23 GW of solar PV additions this decade. The country’s state level renewables target, and green hydrogen potential could drive its solar PV penetration in power generation to over 20% by 2030, making it the highest in the region, forecasts Wood Mackenzie.

“Policies are evolving to overcome market barriers, enabling Asia Pacific’s solar generation share to grow from 4% in 2020 to 10% in 2030,” said Zhang.

Wood Mackenzie expects Indonesia to become the fastest growing solar PV market in Asia Pacific over this decade. Growing from a low base of 0.3 GW, the country’s solar PV capacity could expand over 28-fold to 8.5 GW by 2030.

The Asian Development Bank’s $600 million loan in 2020 to help Indonesia’s state-owned power company PLN expand electricity access and promote renewable energy in eastern Indonesia, as well as lower distributed solar fees, market reforms, and renewables targets are expected to drive the country’s solar PV capacity growth.

By 2030, 51% of new installs in the top 10 Asia Pacific solar PV markets will be distributed solar due to land constraints and improving competitiveness against rising tariffs. China, with strong national policy and lower tariffs, leads utility-scale deployments, which account for 53% of its total capacity additions this decade. Outside China, distributed solar is a more popular option, accounting for over 60% of solar PV new-build installations in the region, said Wood Mackenzie.

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