New global solar PV installations to increase 27% to record 181 GW this year -IHS Markit

A view of houses with solar panels in the Mililani neighbourhood on the island of Oahu in Mililani, Hawaii
A view of houses with solar panels in the Mililani neighbourhood on the island of Oahu in Mililani, Hawaii, December 15, 2013. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENERGY BUSINESS)/File Photo

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - Global solar photovoltaic installations are expected to grow by 27% this year to a record 181 gigawatts (GW), led by China, the United States and India, a report by data provider IHS Markit showed on Monday.

New solar PV installations were at 142 GW last year.

Even though prices for solar PV modules are higher than last year, along with long delivery times and rising freight costs, demand should grow in the second half of this year.

"In 2021, the strong growth is mostly coming from the top three markets - China, U.S. and India," Edurne Zoco, executive director, clean energy technology at IHS Markit, told Reuters.

"A significant volume of projects were delayed from 2020 and due to very strong shipments in Q4 2020, part of this volume will be installed and connected in 2021," she added.

IHS Markit expects China to install 60 GW of solar PV this year, while the United states will add 27 GW.

India could see a surge in demand for modules from August, when a duty-free import window opens until April 2022.

"Given the strong backlog of projects that piled up in India in 2020, as much as 12 GW could be installed in 2021," the report said.

In Europe, a large number of tendered projects is due to be completed this year. However, due to lower-than-anticipated returns, not all projects that were planned for installation in 2021 will go ahead, it added.

Module prices have increased due to peaks for some materials such as polysilicon, copper and steel.

"Leading module manufacturers are sold out for the first half of the year," said Josefin Berg, research manager, clean energy technology, at IHS Markit.

"There is no indication of price weakness for July shipments yet, manufacturing capacity remains sufficient and no major material bottlenecks have arisen to change our forecast for 181 GW in global solar PV installations," he added.

Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Dan Grebler

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