Global Market Outlook For Solar Power 2021

SolarPower Europe’s annual award-winning Global Market Outlook for Solar Power is the most authoritative market analysis report for the global solar power sector.


With comprehensive historical market data, 5-year forecasts for the key global markets, as well as analysis of the segmentation between rooftop and ground-mounted systems, this report is an indispensable tool for the solar industry and energy stakeholders alike.


The Global Market Outlook traditionally has focused on grid-connected solar. In order to offer a view on the much smaller but, for hundreds of millions of people around the world, existentially-important off-grid sector, we have extended our research this year to show that solar off-grid applications across all segments – small scale, C&I, and mini-grids – are a thriving GW-scale market with two-digit growth rates for the coming years.


Download the Global Market Outlook 2021-2025 and discover:

  • The global solar market
  • Off-grid solar
  • Trends: what’s cool in solar technology
  • Highlight: COVID-19 impacts on solar
  • GW-scale solar power markets in 2020
  • Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2021-2025
Questions about this report? Contact Bethany

Bethany Meban

Senior Press and Communications Advisor

+32 492 97 82 48

Key Takeways

Solar Keeps Growing

Despite the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world in 2020, the year still saw 138.2 GW of solar installed, representing an 18% growth compared to 2019, yet another global annual installation record for the solar PV sector. This brings the global cumulative solar capacity to 773.2 GW, a 22% increase, and marks a new milestone for the solar sector by exceeding three quarters of a terawatt.


The Cost of Solar is Going Down

Solar’s cost competitiveness progressed further in 2020, resulting in an even wider spread to conventional generation technologies as the cost of gas, coal, and nuclear increased. Solar’s cost improved across the board for all segments with utility-scale solar now superior to fossil fuels in all unsubsidised investment cases, which also applies to solar + storage used to meet peak demand compared to gas peakers, according to investment bank Lazard.


Global solar shares

The strong performance of China, growing by 60% to 48.2 GW, easily overcompensated for India’s losses in 2020, pushing up demand for solar in the Asia-Pacific region to a global share of 62%. While an exceptionally good year for solar in the United States carried the Americas to a higher share of 19%, Europe’s slower growth rate than the global average meant a market share reduction to 17%. Despite China’s market growth, the number of volume markets entering the GW-level has only marginally increased to 18 in 2020, up from 17 the year before.


Terawatt level solar growth

As vaccination rates reach necessary levels across the major solar markets, and with the silicon supply issue solved, the next four years are expected to be very strong for solar power around the world. For each year up to 2025, we have considerably increased our forecasts, but 2022 will stand out. In our Medium Scenario, we see the global solar market increase by 25% to 203 GW in 2022, the first time that annual PV installations will cross the 200 GW level, which we had previously expected to be accomplished only in 2024. With continued growth to annual additions of 266 GW in 2025, the operating global solar power generation portfolio will reach close to 1.9 TW, and in the most optimistic scenario even exceed the 2 TW level in four years’ time.

Download the report

By submitting my information, I agree to the privacy policy and to learn more about products and services from SolarPower Europe.

Meet the authors
Walburga Hemetsberger

Chief Executive Officer, SolarPower Europe

Michael Schmela

Executive Advisor, SolarPower Europe

Gianni Chianetta

CEO, Global Solar Council

Global Market Outlook 2021-2025 sponsors