Distributed Solar Energy Generation

Market Drivers and Barriers, Technology Trends, and Global Market Forecasts

Distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems offer the benefit of producing electricity onsite, thereby reducing the need to build new transmission capacity and avoiding line losses. Distributed generation can offer significant benefits to consumers while adding resiliency to an electric grid based on a traditional centralized model. These systems are used in applications ranging from residential to small commercial to industrial use. Though this market is still primarily driven by government incentives, distributed solar PV will continue its steady march toward grid parity in major markets over the next few years.

The global distributed solar photovoltaic market contracted slightly in 2012, due to reduced market activity in Italy and Germany. However, growth in the United States, China, Japan, and other countries continued, driven by solar PV module price reductions, the growth of third-party financing models, and feed-in tariffs. Navigant Research forecasts that, from 2013 to 2018, 220 GW of distributed solar PV will be installed worldwide, representing $540.3 billion in revenue.

This Navigant Research report analyzes the global market for distributed solar PV systems less than 1 MW in capacity and provides an assessment of the most important market drivers, technology trends, and challenges faced by the growing distributed solar PV industry. Forecasts for average installed prices and annual installations, segmented by region, extend through 2018.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • Which countries will lead in distributed solar PV development over the next 6 years – and why?
  • What is the current status and outlook for distributed solar PV financial incentives?
  • How much does it cost to install distributed solar PV in major markets?
  • How is technological innovation playing a role in the development of the distributed solar PV industry?
  • What key barriers and opportunities will shape the distributed solar PV market?
  • How much capital will be invested in total distributed solar PV installations by 2018?
  • What is the forecast through 2018 for annual distributed solar PV installations, in terms of capacity, broken down by region?
  • How will average prices for distributed solar PV change over the next 4 years?
Who needs this report?
  • Solar PV module and component manufacturers
  • Solar PV industry service providers
  • Renewable energy technology suppliers
  • Renewable energy project developers
  • Utilities
  • Economic development agencies
  • Government agencies and regulators
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

1.1   Distributed Solar PV Market Overview and Key Trends

1.2   Key Trends in Distributed Solar Energy Generation

1.2.1   Distributed Solar PV Systems Forecast

2. Market Issues

2.1   Defining Distributed Solar Energy Generation

2.2   Distributed Solar PV Market Overview and Key Trends

2.2.1   Distributed Generation Can Still Mean Thinking Big

2.2.2   Distributed Solar Gains Public and Political Traction versus Centralized Solar

2.2.3   Solar PV Reaching Grid Parity

2.3   Market Drivers and Legislative / Regulatory Mandates

2.3.1   Financial Incentives, Public Policies, and Trade Wars

2.3.1.1   FITs

2.3.1.1.1.   North America

2.3.1.1.2.   Europe

2.3.1.1.3.   Asia Pacific

2.3.2   Net Metering Policies

2.3.3   Renewable Energy Certificates

2.3.4   Utility Asset Ownership Models

2.3.5   Residential and Commercial Solar PV Leases and Power Purchase Agreements

2.4   Implementation Issues

2.4.1   Grid Interconnection

2.4.2   Standards and Permitting

2.4.3   Utilities’ Fear of Higher Penetration of Renewables

3. Technology Trends

3.1   PV Module Oversupply Leads to Significant Price Reductions

3.2   Inverter and Balance of System Price Declines

3.3   Technology Trend: Microinverters, AC Modules, and DC Optimizers

3.3.1   Microinverters and AC Panels

3.3.2   DC Optimizers

4. Market Forecasts

4.1   Distributed Solar PV Systems

4.1.1   North America

4.1.2   European Union

4.1.3   Asia Pacific

4.1.4   Rest of World

5. Company Directory
6
. Acronym and Abbreviation List
7
. Table of Contents
8
. Table of Charts and Figures
9
. Scope of Study, Sources and Methodology, Notes

List of Charts and Figures

  • Comparing Current Status of Distributed Solar PV and Centralized Solar Projects in California
  • Solar PV Cheaper than Grid Electricity in Southern Germany
  • German Utility Meets More than 100% of Load with Solar and Wind on May 8, 2011
  • Cost Comparison of Residential Solar PV Installation Costs, United States and Germany: 2011
  • Module-Level Power Management
  • Annual Distributed Solar PV Installed Capacity by Region, World Markets: 2012-2018
  • Annual Distributed Solar PV Installed Capacity and Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2010-2012
  • Annual Solar PV System Installed Capacity by System Size, Germany: 2010-2012
  • Annual Solar PV Installed Capacity by Segment, United States: 2010-2012E
  • Distributed Solar PV System Prices (Non-Weighted Average) by Component, World Markets: 2006-2018
  • Annual Distributed Solar PV Installed Capacity by Country, North America: 2012-2018
  • Annual Distributed Solar PV Installed Capacity by Country, Leading European Countries: 2012-2018
  • Annual Distributed Solar PV Installed Capacity by Country, Asia Pacific: 2012-2018
  • Average Distributed Solar PV System Installed Price by Region, World Markets: 2010-2018

List of Tables

  • Annual Distributed Solar PV Installed Capacity by Region, World Markets: 2009-2018
  • Distributed Energy Generation Technology Comparison: 2012
  • Annual Distributed Solar PV Installed Capacity by Country, World Markets: 2009-2018
  • Distributed Solar PV System Prices (Non-Weighted Average) by Component, World Markets: 2006-2018
  • Average Distributed Solar PV Installed Price by Region, World Markets: 2009-2018
  • Annual Distributed Solar PV Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2009-2018
  • Cumulative Solar PV Installed Systems and Capacity by System Size, Italy: 2010 and 2011
  • Annual Solar PV Installed Systems and Capacity by System Size, Italy: 2011
  • Annual Solar PV Installed Capacity by State and System Size, Germany: 2012
  • Annual Solar PV Installed Capacity by State and System Size, Germany: 2011
  • Annual Solar PV Installed Capacity by State and System Size, Germany: 2010
  • Quarterly Solar PV Installed Capacity by Segment, United States: 2010-2012E
  • Annual Solar PV Installed Capacity by Segment, United States: 2010-2012E
  • Annual Solar PV Installed Capacity Market Share by Segment, United States: 2008-2012E

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