This article provides more evidence that the optimistic hopes for rapid growth in world PV installations seem to finally be running up against the economic and practical constraints.
China in 2014 is a good example. China's PV goal for 2014 was 14 GW. It now appears actual installations will be about 10 GW (as was predicted earlier). In 2013 the bulk of PV installations in China were large utility scale. In 2014 they wanted to move the bulk to rooftop installations. This was motivated by growing electricity transmission bottlenecks. Rooftop installations don't need new transmission but take longer and are considerably more expensive than large installations. So China was caught between a rock and a hard place. Utility systems mean building lots of expensive long distance transmission that takes years and has political opposition. Rooftop PV is more expensive and less efficient and is also relatively slow to install. Neither option could meet the 14 GW goal. The projections for next year are also for 10 GW. That would be three years in a row at about 10 GW.
This just adds one more piece of evidence to the case that none of today's carbon free energy technologies are practical or economically viable alternatives to fossil fuels. This includes wind, solar, hydro, bio and nuclear. All require government support to survive and governments cannot afford to support any or all of them at the significantly higher level needed to displace fossil fuels. The advocates of each technology are happy to take government subsidies and keep tilting at windmills as long as government keeps providing the subsidies.
There are attempts at advanced versions of wind, solar and nuclear, but investment levels are miniscule. We are spending over $250B on installing clean technologies that cannot succeed, but investing a tiny fraction of that on R&D for technologies that might succeed. This is especially true for system solutions like Nuclear or large Solar. In part its because government is bad at and should not be involved in picking winners. Finding a structure to finance large scale energy R&D has proved elusive. It would take venture investments at a considerably larger scale than current venture capital funds can support. For a portfolio approach to work a fund would need maybe $100B to invest in maybe 100 ventures over maybe a decade. Given the scale of energy, one success would be enough.