Solar installations on pace for biggest growth in five years, IHS Markit says

Arrays of photovoltaic solar panels are seen at the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in this aerial photo taken over El Centro, California, U.S., May 29, 2020. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Bing Guan

March 29 (Reuters) - Solar installations across the world are set for their biggest growth in five years in 2021, data research firm IHS Markit said on Wednesday, as countries including China, India and the United States transition further to renewable energy.

A push to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse emissions has led to a "green wave" of investment in alternative energy forms like wind and solar, with many countries cutting their dependence on dirtier coal and oil.

The expected 27% rise in demand to about 180 gigawatts (GW) for solar-powered installations this year comes even as module prices and freight costs rise, IHS noted. Peak prices for some raw materials, such as copper and steel, have put pressure on companies to maintain high prices for modules.

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IHS Markit said it expects mainland China, the world's biggest manufacturer of photovoltaic products to surpass 60 GW in solar installations in 2021, while the U.S. market is expected to install 27 GW.

India, historically a highly cost-sensitive market, is expected to install about 12 GW this year and witness a surge in module demand from August 2021 as a duty-free import window opens until April next year, according to the report.

Solar installations grew only about 10% with 142 GW of installations last year, IHS Markit said, citing manufacturing and logistic disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

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