Key updates from this Quarterly Solar Industry Update presentation:
- In Q1 2018, the United States installed 2.5 gigawatts direct current (GW-DC) of PV, 57% from the utility-scale PV market, and approximately 44 megawatts alternating current (MW-AC) or 126 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy storage onto the electric grid.
- Since the announcement of the Section 201 tariff on imported PV products, several manufacturers have announced U.S. manufacturing expansion plans, which are expected to push U.S. manufacturing capacity to 3 GW-DC of cells and 7 GW-DC of module assembly.
- On May 31, 2018, China, which installed over half of global PV installations in 2017, announced it would curb 2018 domestic solar installations. Analysts predict the change in Chinese policy will reduce annual Chinese installations by as much as 20 GW-DC, causing a substantial reduction in global demand.
- This change in policy has resulted in an immediate oversupply of panels and associated drop in panel pricing globally.
- Module, cell, and wafer prices have dropped since the beginning of the year, but they rose in June and July after China terminated subsidies on new utility-scale PV projects in 2018 and reduced its feed-in-tariff. In July, global module average selling price was reported to be $0.26 per watt.
- Modules sold in the United States in Q1 2018 average $0.47 per watt, 53% higher than the global average.
- While solar stocks outperformed the broader market in 2017, they tumbled significantly in May through July of 2018 due to lower expectations of global demand.
- 2017 was a record-breaking year with $1.3 billion of solar asset-backed securities; this trend continues in 2018 with over $1 billion in the first six months.