UNEP: PV deployed at CAGR of 38 percent from 1998 to 2015

A case study shows PV deployment at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 38 percent from 1998 to 2015 worldwide. According to the ninth edition of the United Nations Environment Program’s »Emissions Gap Report 2018«, PV diffusion spurred cost reductions through »learning by doing«, scale economies and R&D, and also lower profit margins through increasing competition, which in turn stimulated further deployment of ever-cheaper systems. From 1975 to 2016, PV module prices fell by about 99.5 percent, and every doubling of installed capacity coincided with a 20 percent drop in costs. »Public innovation policies were, and continue to be, crucial for this process across the innovation chain,« says the UNEP report.
Based on an assessment of existing studies of what works, there are five key principles or success factors that policymakers should consider when designing policies and programs to accelerate low-carbon innovation. First of all, public organizations must be willing to take on the high, early-stage risk that private organizations shy away from. At the mid-stage of the innovation chain, public organizations help de-risk private investment in commercial-scale projects. Furthermore, green policies must set a direction for the whole economy, not for each sector separately. Moreover, mission-oriented innovation is useful for stimulating investment and innovation across different parts of the economy to reach concrete, target-specific goals. Policy instruments need to be structured to mobilize actors through bottom-up exploration and participation.

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