A new report suggests that solar demand across the Asia Pacific region will increase by 13.5 gigawatts in 2013, a 50 percent growth year-over-year.
According to the Q1’13 report of industry analyst NPD Solarbuzz, 90 percent of solar demand this year is expected to come from China, Australia, Japan and India – the Asia Pacific region market leaders.
However, as factors such as domestic manufacturing, policies, import duties, and customer preferences bring changes to the discrete end-market demand environments in these countries, P.V. suppliers and technologies must be able to find ways to keep up.
“Having a single go-to-market strategy to meet growing .P.V demand across the entire A.P.A.C. region is no longer viable,” said Chris Sunsong, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “Quarterly cycles also continue to define P.V. demand, reflecting the effects of policy deadlines and weather-related seasonality.”
Solarbuzz said Australia in particular will experience sluggish P.V. growth in 2013, with the elimination of the Solar Credit Multiplier, as well as the incentive reductions in Victoria and Queensland.
Significantly, government support demonstrated through policies will usher the take off of solar industry in other Asian Pacific countries.
Japan will see a surging growth in P.V. demand prior to the deliberate tariff reductions this April, said the report.
With the Central government intending to advance its goals under its 12th Five-Year Solar Development Plan, China’s solar power capacity is predicted to climb by 7 gigawatts, with more than 75 percent to come about during the second quarter. Nevertheless, Solarbuzz warned that likely adjustments in the feed-in tariff will force P.V. developers to finish their projects ahead of time this year to avoid year-end panic buying of materials experienced in the previous years.
While the final version of Phase II of India’s National Solar Mission program – which aims to install 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022 – is still pending, its implementation is anticipated to deliver to the country a capacity growth from 3.7 to 9 GW, with a special focus on the off-grid and rooftop technologies.
Solarbuzz noted that the Asian Pacific region is increasingly becoming “more selective” about technologies.
In Japan, high-efficiency modules are favored for areas with constrained space. In China, on the other hand, domestic multi c-Si modules are opted for ground-mounted requirements. Finally, in India, roof-mounted systems are specifically preferred to meet the 1 GW demand under Phase II of the solar mission, which could shrink the demand for thin-film materials used in large-scale solar facilities.
“There are various factors driving overall PV demand across the A.P.A.C. region, but each country is still subject to a number of risk factors,” said Mr. Sunsong. “For example, the Chinese and Indian markets are constrained by bank financing and grid accessibility, and Australia remains vulnerable to future policy shocks.” – C. Dominguez
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