Revising installed photovoltaic capacities on emerging markets by analysing customs data

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Byggteknik och byggd miljö

Abstract: The global solar PV market is growing fast, and so is the production and trade with photovoltaic products and peripherals. Until now, the largest development has taken place in highly developed and electrified countries with good administrative control over their electricity system. Recently, however, new markets in developing countries have become increasingly relevant in terms of market share, system sizes and installed capacities. Statistics from these types of countries are often weak or non-existent, leading to problems for global organizations such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) or the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), whose task is to follow, analyze and document named development.  In this report, a method is presented in which customs data monitored by the ‘Market Analysis and Research’ section of the International Trade Centre, an agency of UN’s World Trade Organization, is analyzed and converted into annual installed PV capacity volumes. By complementing the basic data from the customs database with price statistics from IEA PVPS task 1 along with national module production data from IEA PVPS task 1 and the RTS cooperation a data conversion is executed.  The method has been improved incrementally, where different assumptions have been modified or added, so that the data conversion of exported and imported PV products, expressed in dollar per yearly quarter, match the official statistics of annual installed capacity for a number of reference countries with comprehensive PV capacity statistics. The sensitivity analysis shows that the method is sensitive to the accuracy of the annual domestic national PV module production data and to price changes of Chinese PV modules. For countries with accurate PV module production data, or countries with no module production, the method seems to be able to estimate the annual installed capacity in 2018 with an average difference of 21% and a maximum difference of ±38% and a total average difference of 12%, 17% and 11% for 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.  By implementing this method, an estimate on yearly installed capacities can be generated in all countries connected to the UN customs database and where the domestic module production is known. This gives the opportunity to at least get an assessment of how much PV that has been installed in developing countries that lack official statistics about their domestic PV market. The regions with the lowest existing data coverage in the world have been determined to be Africa and the Middle East. When applying the method on countries in Africa and the Middle East, larger capacities than the reference data were obtained. 

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