As the current centralized model of power generation, transmission, and distribution grows ever more costly, the use of renewable distributed energy generation sources such as distributed solar photovoltaics, small wind power and stationary fuel cells is set to triple by 2017, according to a report by Pike Research.
Annual worldwide installations of renewable distributed generation will reach 63.5 GW a year in 2017, up from 20.6 GW in 2011, according to Renewable Distributed Energy Generation. Nearly 232 GW of distributed renewable energy will be added between 2012 and 2017, the report says.
The large majority of new installations will be solar photovoltaics. Such installations will total 210 GW from 2012 to 2017, the report says.
Solar PV manufacturers have delivered on their promise to drive down costs and scale up production, Pike says. Worldwide solar PV module production capacity reached an estimated 50 GW by the end of 2011, according to the report, as module costs dropped from roughly $4.00 per watt in 2006 to $1.00 per watt in 2011.
Currently RDEG makes up a very small part of the world’s global electric power capacity. Europe and the United States are the largest markets for RDEG today. There is a “growing movement” towards the use of such technology in developing countries with high electricity costs, where large numbers of the population are unconnected to the grid, Pike says.
Pike’s analysis indicates that Europe will continue to be the largest market for RDEG during the 2012-2017 forecast period, but Asia Pacific will see the most rapid market growth across the three technologies covered in this report.
A report released by Pike earlier this year that focuses solely on distributed solar generation showed that that market grew 72 percent in 2010, the fastest of all renewable technologies during this period. The report also said that as government-funded financial incentives for solar photovoltaics are reduced in some major markets, price reductions and third-party ownership models will become the key drivers for the market for the foreseeable future.