The LG Economic Research Institute said on May 27 that the global photovoltaic market has grown at an annual average of 47 percent since 2007 thanks to technological development, reduction in component costs, and governmental support policies. The International Energy Agency (IEA) also predicted last year that the ratio of photovoltaic power generation would reach 26 percent in 2050, four percentage points higher than its estimate of five years ago. According to a recent report of market research firm IHS, the global photovoltaic module market is expected to get to 61 GW in shipments this year to record a 27 percent growth from a year earlier, while global photovoltaic module sales and profits go up from US$31 billion to US$35 billion and from US$2.3 billion to US$5 billion, respectively.
Such positive forecasts amid the ongoing low oil prices are because the photovoltaic industry has become self-sufficient to the point of requiring no subsidies based on a high level of economic feasibility. “The severe supply glut in the photovoltaic module market resulted in markdown, which, in turn, led to the module price dropping from US$4 to US$0.5 per watt between 2008 and last year,” the LG Economic Research Institute explained, adding, “New technology in the form of GaAs compounds, quantum dot solar cells, and the like will further reduce the power generation costs while boosting the efficiency of solar batteries.”
Another positive factor is large-scale investment led by major players. For example, Warren Buffett already invested US$15 billion in solar and wind power generation and said last year that he would double his investment in the fields. Google and Apple have invested billions of dollars in alternative energy, too.
Korean companies are focusing on the growth of the alternative energy market as well. LG Electronics and LG Chem are participating in the Carbon-free Island project of Jeju, and Hanwha Q Cells signed a contract with NextEra Energy last month to supply photovoltaic modules amounting to 1.5 GW. Samsung SDI also exhibited advanced solar cell technology and products at the SNEC PV Power Expo 2015 that took place in Shanghai late last month.