Author InfoLink
Updated May 30, 2024

Solar project developers are at the forefront as nations grapple with climate change, energy security, and economic development. This guide, drawing on insights from the Advancing Clean Technology Manufacturing: An Energy Technology Perspectives Special Report of the International Energy Agency's (IEA), which integrates InfoLink’s capacity and output data as well as sources from other global think tanks, provides practical solutions to common challenges faced by solar project developers.

Table of contents

-    Understanding the landscape
-    Key challenges and solutions
-    The bright side

Understanding the landscape


  • In 2023, the global PV demand reached 230 GW, a 30% increase from the previous year. China alone installed over 100 GW, accounting for nearly 45% of the global market. Europe and the U.S. saw significant growth, with installations reaching 40 GW and 30 GW, respectively. 
  • In 2023, investment in solar PV manufacturing reached approximately USD 80 billion, more than doubling from the previous year.


  • The world added 500 GW of module production capacity in 2023, with China contributing approximately 440 GW, outpacing demand. This highlights the need for strategic adjustments in manufacturing capacity and market expansion.
  • China dominates global solar PV module production, accounting for over 80% of capacity.

Key challenges and solutions

1. Market volatility and regional manufacturing disparities


Higher manufacturing costs in regions like the U.S. and Europe, which are usually 70% to 130% more expensive per unit of output capacity compared to China, ultimately eroding project profitability.


Global sourcing strategies:

  • Diversify suppliers across multiple regions to balance cost and supply chain stability.
  • Create strategic reserves of critical components and explore local sourcing options to enhance supply chain resilience.
  • Collaborate with industry peers to create joint ventures or consortia for bulk purchasing agreements, thereby securing better terms and reducing individual risk exposure.
  • Take advantage of regional subsidies and tax incentives to offset higher costs. 

Cost reduction: 

  • Invest in automation and process optimization within manufacturing facilities to reduce labor costs and increase efficiency.
  •  Partner with research institutions for cutting-edge technology development for performance and lower costs. 

Also read: Solar, energy storage industries after Biden’s Section 301 tariff hikes 

2. Permitting and grid connection delays


Lengthy permitting processes and delays in grid connection affecting project implementation.


  • Advocate for regulatory reforms to streamline permitting and approval processes.
  • Establish regular communication channels with grid operators.
  • Invest and participate in grid studies and impact assessments early in the project planning phase.

3. Environmental and social considerations


The environmental impact of solar PV manufacturing and the need for fair labor practices are growing concerns.


  • Implement sustainable manufacturing practices, such as recycling end-of-life modules and reducing waste. 
  • Prioritize suppliers who adhere to stringent environmental and social standards. 
  • Invest in education and training programs to equip workers with the necessary skills. 
  • Partner with educational institutions and training centers to develop specialized programs that support the solar industry's growth.

4. Policy and regulatory environment


Navigating diverse policy and regulatory landscapes can be complex and time-consuming.


  • Stay informed about local, national, and international policies affecting solar development. 

Also read: Solar, energy storage industries after Biden’s Section 301 tariff hikes 

  • Consider partnering with local stakeholders who have a deep understanding of the regulatory environment.
  • Establish dedicated compliance teams or hire consultants specializing in regulatory affairs to manage and anticipate changes in the regulatory landscape.

The bright side

1. Decreasing module prices

Technological improvements and economies of scale contribute to this price decline. Lower module costs directly translate to reduced overall project costs, allowing developers to propose more projects within budget constraints.

Enhanced project viability may make it easier to secure financing from banks, investors, or government agencies. Lower perceived risk due to reduced capital expenditure can lead to more favorable loan terms and lower interest rates.

2. Increased investment in solar manufacturing:

Investment in solar manufacturing more than doubled to around USD 80 billion in 2023 from 2022. Increased investment supports a more stable and reliable supply chain, which can mitigate risks associated with component shortages and price fluctuations.

More investment in manufacturing could also lead to job creation and economic growth in regions with a strong solar manufacturing presence.

Leveraging data for strategic decisions

The solar industry offers tremendous potential for economic growth, energy security, and climate change mitigation. By addressing key challenges through strategic planning, diversification, and innovation, solar project developers can capitalize on this potential and contribute significantly to a sustainable energy future. 

The IEA's report, enriched with data from InfoLink and other global think tanks, provides a roadmap for navigating the complex landscape of the entire renewable energy industry. By leveraging these insights, developers can enhance project viability and drive the global transition to clean energy. 

European Seminar: Data-Driven Insights for Solar & Energy Storage Projects

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European Seminar: Data-Driven Insights for Solar & Energy Storage Projects

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