The photovoltaic market will continue its growth in 2013 albeit a little slower than in the past few years, according to a new NDP Solarbuzz report. The report projected that the PV market will grow about 7 percent this year to 31 gigawatts 29 GWs in 2012. The report also predicted that Germany’s solar market will finally be outpaced by China, which will be the world’s largest PV market in 2013.
“In 2013, we expect to see improvement in the market fundamentals that enable PV demand to return to double-digit growth,” Said Solarbuzz Senior Analyst Michael Barker. “Installed-system prices will continue to fall, and PV will become increasingly cost competitive across regions with high electricity rates, shortages in domestic supply, and growing renewable obligations to fulfill.”
Overall, the top 10 PV regions, which will include the U.S. and Canada, will still account for 83% of global PV demand. But 2013 will start to see a shift to emerging markets from Europe, which had been solar’s largest market. “2013 will represent another transition year, as the PV industry adjusts to softness across legacy European markets,” Barker said. Such a change has been projected in the past but it now looks like it is coming to pass.
Instead China, Japan, and India, will account for an increasing amount of PV demand and lead to 11 GWs of PV demand in 2013 thanks to new policies, according to the report. “The Chinese end-market will largely compensate for the downturn in demand from Germany, which previously led PV demand,” Barker said. The shift will also come because of further reductions in Europe’s incentives, which Solarbuzz projected will drive down demand there to 12 GWs, 26 percent less than installed in 2012.
In terms of installation types, Solarbuzz projected that with 45 percent of the market ground-mount arrays will dominate demand for solar in 2013. That’s largely because policies are favoring utility-based deployment. Residential market will remain a leader Japan, Germany, Australia, Italy, and the U.K. In those places, the residential sector of the solar market is expected to remain above 20 of all demand in those countries. The company also projects those countries will account for 75 percent of all residential installations in 2013.
Looking forward, the report projects that Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia will make up more of the global demand from 2014 on. While it will consist of less 8 percent of global demand this year, Solarbuzz projected it will double by 2017, driven primarily by South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Israel, and Mexico.
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