Following 2022 when the energy situation changed drastically, the introduction of renewable energy accelerated globally in 2023.
At the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Dubai, UAE in December 2023, it was agreed to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels and triple the installed capacity of renewable energy generation to 11 TW worldwide by 2030. Accordingly, it is expected that the shift to renewable energy will be further strengthened around the world hereafter.
As shown in Table 1, 2023 was a record-breaking year with explosive growth in the PV installed capacity. In 2023, the annual global PV installed capacity is estimated to be 373 GW, of which 200 GW is in China, 33 GW in the United States, 56 GW in the European Union (EU), and 20 GW in India. Policies to promote renewable energy have also been strengthened, and the US has made significant progress in developing a domestic production framework for PV power generation based on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and technological development to promote the PV industry. The EU has made it mandatory to achieve a renewable energy ratio of 42.5% of total energy consumption by 2030 and has formulated the Green Deal Industrial Plan as a measure to support manufacturing in the region. In particular, Germany has formulated the Photovoltaic Power Generation Strategy and set a target cumulative PV installed capacity of 215 GW by 2030 and raised the target annual PV installed capacity to 22 GW/year until 2026. Based on its Renewable Energy Plan, China has announced 160 GW of PV and wind power combined installed capacity in 2023 and a target of more than 450 GW of PV production in 2024. India has formulated the National Energy Plan, setting a cumulative PV installed capacity target of 365 GW by FY2031/2032
Table 1 Ten most important news related to PV power generation in 2023
The market price of PV module has fallen sharply to less than 15 cents/W due to global overproduction, and the advantage over conventional energy is becoming more and more widespread. In the PV industry, mainly in China, competition for the expansion of production facilities of high-output PV modules with conversion efficiency exceeding 20% is intensifying, and the transition to unification of module size has begun.
In the US, Europe, India, and other countries, new supply chains are being built with the aim of breaking away from dependence on China for PV production, and the global PV production capacity is about to exceed 1 TW/year. In Japan, the GX Promotion Act and the GX Decarbonized Power Sources Act were enacted, and the government developed the Basic Policy for the Realization of GX into the GX Promotion Strategy and formulated the 13 trillion Yen GX Investment Strategy that includes perovskite solar cells (PSCs) and storage batteries using GX Economy Transition Bonds.
Based on the GX Decarbonized Power Sources Act, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has focused on improving the dissemination environment, such as the creation of new rules to introduce renewable energy in harmony with local communities (stricter certification, holding briefings, establishment of orders for the return of renewable energy surcharge, recycling, realizing long-term stable power supply, etc.), the establishment of new FIT prices for the expansion of roof PV installations, and the package for suppressing output curtailment. The Ministry of the Environment (MoE) has selected 28 Decarbonization Leading Areas for the second year in 2023 following 2022, and local governments are continuing to introduce renewable energy to their regions. In addition, the target PV installed capacity on governmentowned land and facilities has been set at 114 MW by 2030. Local governments have intensified activities to promote the introduction of renewable energy, such as setting targets for the introduction volume of renewable energy, setting up areas to promote the introduction of renewable energy, introducing PV power generation to their facilities, establishing subsidies for the introduction of renewable energy, and joint purchasing. In the market, the average winning bid price in FIT and FIP tenders for the introduction of PV power generation was 8.55 Yen/kWh (6.06 cents/kWh), and the lowest winning bid price fell to 7.94 Yen/kWh (5.63 cents/kWh), achieving a level of less than 8 Yen/kWh (5.67 cents/kWh) for the first time.
Japan’s annual PV installed capacity in 2023 is estimated to be 6.6 GWDC, and the cumulative installed capacity is expected to have reached 90 GWDC scale. In the PV industry, in addition to accelerating the transition to business development through on-site and off-site corporate PPA schemes, the introduction of virtual PPAs and voluntary introductions that do not use FIT or FIP programs have begun. The Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA) has released a new vision for the PV industry called PV Outlook 2050, and made an upward revision of the outlook of cumulative PV installed capacity in Japan to 125 GWAC by FY 2030 and 376 GWAC by FY 2050. While the world is moving toward the era of 500 GW/year installation, Japan’s PV installed capacity has been stagnant at 6~7 GWDC since the transition to the new FIT/FIP programs. In 2024, Japan will enter an important phase for the future of PV power generation, to see whether the PV market will grow again or shrink. Discussions on the formulation of the Seventh Strategic Energy Plan are scheduled to begin, and in order to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels, the PV industry and the government must join hands and work together with utmost effort with local governments and electricity consumers to make 2024 a year of PV development and expansion again, as a reliable power source.