Asia-Pacific nations used to be the places where solar panels made by American companies such as First Solar and SunPower were assembled, but not sold. Now, however, those countries are also becoming serious markets for the panels in their own right.
Asia-Pacific and Central Asian nations will install more than 3,000 megawatts of photovoltaic power by 2017, up from 723 megawatts last year, according to a projection by NPD SolarBuzz, a New York-based market research firm. That’s an annual growth rate of 28%, and the region will comprise 5% of global demand in 2017, up from 2% today.
Developing countries will need about $531 billion of additional investments in clean energy technologies every year in order to limit global temperature rise to 2° C above pre-industrial levels, thus preventing climate change’s worst impacts. To attract investments on the scale required, developing country governments, with support from developed countries, must undertake “readiness” activities that will encourage public and private sector investors to put their money into climate-friendly projects.
WRI’s six-part blog series, Mobilizing Clean Energy Finance, highlights individual developing countries’ experiences in scaling up investments in clean energy and explores the role climate finance plays in addressing investment barriers. The cases draw on WRI’s recent report, Mobilizing Climate Investment.
The development of Thailand’s energy efficiency sector is an interesting case study. It demonstrates how strong government leadership combined with strategic support from international climate finance can drive the transition toward an energy-efficient economy.