Solar power hits the brakes amid incentive cuts in Asia, Europe

(Bob Owen/San Antonio Express News)
(Bob Owen/San Antonio Express News)

Global solar power installations are expected to slow by three-fourths this year as governments cut incentives in the U.K., Japan and China.

Demand for solar increased 34 percent last year to 59 gigawatts, according to a report from GTM Research on Friday. This year, the solar industry will install 64 gigawatts, an 8.5 percent increase.

The extension of U.S. tax credits for solar will help offset some of the declines in parts of Europe and Asia, where government policies have slowed demand for new photovoltaic installations, said Mohit Anand, author of the report.

“Global PV demand is very much at the mercy of government support, which can often be unpredictable and idiosyncratic,” Anand said in an interview. Reductions in feed-in tariffs in the U.K., Japan and China have curbed growth expectations, he said.

Still, as more countries begin to implement plans to reach climate goals agreed to in Paris last year, the global solar industry will again accelerate to about 20 percent annual growth over the next few years, Anand said.

“By 2017, many more countries will have put in place a lot of their plans,” he said. “That will provide a more stable trajectory.”