Indian industrial conglomerate Mahindra Group has announced plans to treble solar energy investments this year, according to Chairman Anand Mahindra. The environmentally motivated energy plan follows Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi's plans to boost renewable energy output, with power minister Piyush Goyal revealing figures which quadruple the solar power output target to 100 gigawatts by 2022, stating an investment of $100bn from the Indian government on renewable energy sources over the next five years.
By the end of the financial year, Mahindra predicts his corporation will have installed 180MW of solar electricity, preparing to add a further 500MW the following year. Worldwide, the focus on solar panels as a cost effective, sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative power source has increased at a similar rate. Analysts predict that the global solar panel market will rise at a CAGR of almost 12% from 2014 to 2019.
Last year, 125,000 homes were fitted with solar panels in the UK alone. Additionally, solar photovoltaic installations between 10 and 50 kilowatts (sizes often fitted on schools, business units or village halls), grew more than 50% between October and December last year when compared to the previous three month period. The growth has lead to 3.5% tariff cuts from April for installations smaller than 10kW. The STA stated this tariff drop marks the first drop since 2012 caused by systems deployed rather than the automatic drop the market sees every nine months.
Solar panels, or photovoltaic modules, generate electricity by capturing sunlight. There are currently two types of solar cells: crystalline silicon and thin-film. Thin-film cells are expected to gain popularity in the solar panel market over the next five years as the cells are less expensive and can be deposited in layers thinner than 1 micron - helping manufacturers customise solar panels to fit the requirements of a variety of clients.
The recent increase in solar energy storage facilities is one factor which will allow the solar panel market to expand rapidly over the next 5 years. Japan is investing $700 million into the energy storage market this year, demonstrating the global attitude as countries seek alternative fuel sources. Analysts predict that customer-located batteries which store solar panel energy generated from homes and businesses could increase from $42 billion in 2014 to $1 billion by 2018.
The leading companies in the solar panel market are currently: Canadian Solar Inc., First Solar Inc., JinkoSolar Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp., Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd., Trina Solar Ltd. and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. Other prominent market players include: Bosch Solar Energy, Hanwha SolarOne, JA Solar Holdings, LDK Solar, Panasonic and SolarWorld.
Interested in learning more about solar panels? See the latest research Global Solar Panel Market.
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