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What do you think global solar-power capacity will be in 2019?

Commentary by Tero Horttana, Director - Global PV Accounts for the Luvata Special Products Division

I was about ten years old the first time I saw a solar panel. It was on the roof of a house on the way to my grandparents in South Ostrobothnia, a region situated in Western Finland. The people from that area are well known for their entrepreneurship, resilience and perseverance. Therefore I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that someone was already experimenting with the new way to create energy.

For some reason though, that small panel fascinated me. On each trip passing by, I had to look to see if the panel was still there. And it was, for a long time.

Thirty years later I joined Luvata and had the opportunity to work for this growing, still new, business area of photovoltaics. During my first months with Luvata, I recall one particular Sunwire® request from a private individual from South Ostrobothnia.  He was planning to produce solar panels in his garage. This seemed a little odd, considering by this time there was a growing number of solar panel manufacturers around Europe. He explained that he just wanted to make eight panels for himself. He saw photovoltaics as a fascinating and interesting field, but that the modules were too expensive to buy – so he simply decided to make them himself.

I admire that kind of courage towards new things. Although it wasn’t a new thing to me, for many it still was.

Just a few short years later, a lot has changed; kilowatts have grown to become megawatts and then again to become gigawatts. The industry has grown toward mass-production. The annual growth of photovoltaic installations continues to surprise us year-after-year. Even without the subsidies, modules have become more affordable.

There are several organizations publishing predictions for global solar-power capacity. Some are modest, while others are bold. Solar Power Europe’s estimation in their Global Market Outlook 2015-2019 predicts between 396 and 540 GW for 2019. In Luvata’s recent poll, 59% voted for 300 to 500 GW. However there were still 35% of voters who think it will be above 600 GW. I voted for above 600 GW.

Let’s hope we continue to be surprised by the results.

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