Further Development of Njord, a Statistical Instrument for Estimating International Installed Photovoltaic Capacities : A Customs Data Analysis

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Energisystem; Linköpings universitet/Energisystem

Abstract: The global photovoltaic (PV) market is growing, contributing to reduced climate emissions from electricity production. Historically, PV deployment mainly occurred in developed and electrified countries with a high level of certainty over their electrical system. Recently, this trend has started to change, contributing to a more globally distributed PV market. In primarily two of the emerging markets, Africa and the Middle East, the statistical situation is weak or non-existent, making it hard to monitor and track the PV development. PV devices can be grid-connected or off-grid, installed in PV parks or in smaller household applications, which further complicates the monitoring. As a result, the best available statistics on these markets, provided by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), are to a major part based on estimations not built on any official data.  In a pilot study a instrument prototype, Njord, for converting monetary trade data of PV devices into installed PV capacities was initiated, with the aim to provide more accurate estimates for these markets. Njord is in this study further developed, by increasing its resolution and adjusting assumptions. Further, an additional conversion factor, namely PV module weight, is implemented to improve the accuracy of the predictions. The time frame of Njord is enlarged enabling estimates of accumulated capacities, in contrast to previously only annual installations. The instrument methodology is based on a bottom-up approach of processing import and export customs data, and converting the data to installed capacities using the price and weight of a PV module per wattage. In addition to the further development of Njord, the trade data is used to map and analyse monetary trade flows and thereby market values. Identified improvements concerned, among others, to adjust the percentage of PV modules in the customs code for countries without specific codes, and to fill data gaps with additional mirror data. The weight conversion factor was initially implemented as a parallel instrument to the price based. The two conversion factors were then combined into an instrument choosing the most suitable conversion factor with regards to a number of constraints. The instrument performance was validated against reference countries with well documented PV markets, qualitatively customs data, and small domestic PV manufacturing. For the reference countries and the comparative period of 2016 – 2018, the total deviations were improved from spanning 11.1 % – 17.0 % to 0.5 – 22.6 %. The best performance is seen for the most recent years of 2018 and 2019, with total deviations of 0.5 % and 4.1 % respectively. Njord shows high performance for estimating accumulated capacity, with a deviation of 4.3 % in the end of 2019. When applying Njord to the markets of interest, Africa and the Middle East, the results are significantly higher than the IRENA estimates, with a result of 118 % higher for Africa and 127 % higher for the Middle East. This indicates that the PV deployment in these emerging markets could be underestimated in today's statistical situation.  In combination with the instrument results, mapping trade flows has shown to give comprehensive information about the PV markets of interest and shows the potential of using trade data for this type of analysis. China distinguishes as the dominant trade partner for both Africa and the Middle East, in line with the global PV market. Although these markets are small relative the global PV context, there was in 2019 still a net import of PV modules of in total 879 million US$ for Africa and 728 million US$ for the Middle East, and the markets are growing fast. Further, mapping trade flows has shown to identify manufacturing countries on the markets of interest, which there also is a lack of information on. The trade patterns and its inherent monetary values could be used to for example identify market development and business opportunities.

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