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Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Solar PV: How will the solar PV industry weather the storm of a global pandemic?

11 May 2020 Sam Wilkinson

Today, the world is in a unique and unprecedented position. The coronavirus (COVID-19) disease 2019 has been the catalyst for seismic changes, and such a storm of social, economic, and health implications has never been felt before in peacetime. The upcoming period will bring great challenges for all industries, economies, and individuals. It may also bring opportunities as the recovery takes place, and a new and different world emerges on the other side of this global crisis.

The PV industry, being linked so closely to the decisions of policy makers, has always been subject to major swings in demand, with sudden—and often unexpected—changes to the outlook for the industry being a commonplace in the last 10 years. Over the years, IHS Markit has made several major unplanned adjustments to its global forecasts as a result of rapid changes in incentive policies and trade tariffs. However, none of them have been as drastic or as surrounded in uncertainty as those which have been made in response to the global pandemic and its subsequent global recession.

Although it is too early to make a precise assessment of the solar capacity (in megawatts: MW) that will not be installed as a result of the crisis, IHS Markit is (for the first time ever) predicting that global PV installations will decline in 2020. This is a result of both the immediate paralysis of global industries and the long-lasting damage to the economy. However, the inherent benefits of PV technology, which make it a low-cost sustainable and reliable source of power, could mean that the solar industry is better placed than many to weather the storm and play a role in the recovery, particularly as the world continues to transition toward a lower-carbon economy.

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IHS Markit experts are available for consultation on the industries and subjects they specialize in. Meetings are virtual and can be tailored to focus on your areas of inquiry. Book in a consultation with Sam Wilkinson.

Sam Wilkinson is an Associate Director for the Clean Technology and Renewables team at IHS Markit.

Posted 11 May 2020


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