In 2018 the annual deployment of photovoltaics is anticipated to grow to 100 gigawatts a year. That’s according to NPD Solarbuzz’ latest Marketbuzz report, which said that by then PV will be a $50 billion worldwide market.
The report anticipates that the solar PV industry will grow to 3 percent of the world’s energy supply in 2018, assuming that 300 gigawatts of PV will be installed over the next five years. In fact, in 2018, the report anticipated that fully 500 gigawatts of PV will be installed, generating $200 billion in revenue between 2014 and 2018.
The report looks at the historical data, which includes periods of overcapacity in 2012 and 2013. “Solar PV module prices declined faster than the end-market grew in 2012, leading to a dramatic decline in revenues,” said Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.
“This imbalance was corrected during 2013. Over the next five years, end-market growth will exceed forecasted price declines, resulting in a strong rebound in module revenues,” Barker said. During this period the PV industry still grew by 34 percent generating more than 37 gigawatts of end-market demand in 2013.
Pricing declines are expected to continue albeit at a slower pace. The Solarbuzz report found that PV module average selling prices (ASPs) are expected to decline moderately over the next few years and are forecast to reach $0.51 per watt (W) in 2018. “Solar PV suppliers are benefiting from a less volatile pricing environment, compared to previous years,” said Finlay Colville, vice-president of NPD Solarbuzz. “The industry will soon transition to a phase of profitable growth, with solar PV competing directly with traditional forms of energy.”
The report also said that system prices will decline annually. The additional cost declines will be driven by balance-of-systems cost reductions. Those balance-of-systems cost reductions will include componentry and economy-of-scale improvements.
In terms of Pv technology the report anticipated that crystalline silicone PV modules will increase their share of the market. Fully 91percent of photovoltaic modules being made between 2014 and 2018 are expected to be silicone-based. The report anticipated that thin-film based solar power like that made by First Solar will make up less of the global solar market.