ReNew Economy has another upbeat assessment of the global solar PV market - How solar PV became a global phenomenon.
The recent slew of quarterly reports from the world’s major solar PV manufacturers have delivered some encouraging news: surplus capacity is being removed, manufacturing costs continue to fall, selling prices have stabilised and margins are improving. Some solar manufacturers may even post a profit later this year or in 2014.
But by far the most impressive piece of information was the extent to which the industry is growing in new markets. The influence of Europe, which kicked off the solar PV boom nearly a decade ago with its feed-in tariffs, is fading. China, Japan and the US will compete for domination in the coming years, but strong markets in the rest of Asia, Africa and South America are also emerging.
“The global PV market is becoming more diversified,” says Liangshing Miao, the chairman and CEO of Yingli Solar, the world’s biggest manufacturer of solar PV. “China, the US, Japan and other new and emerging markets, will become the main drivers of demand in the second half of this year. (We are witnessing) the globalization of the PV industry.”
This is a recurring theme in the industry. Last month, Deutsche Bank published an analysis which talked of a major “inflection point” in the global PV industry. Analyst Vishal Shah said that three-quarters of the world’s market will be “sustainable” for solar within 18 months, meaning there is an economic case to install solar PV with little or no subsidy.
More recently, Deutsche Bank noted that the US – the world’s biggest electricity market – was rapidly approaching the point where more than half of its states were at “grid parity”, also meaning that no additional subsidies are required for solar PV. It predicted the US market would reach annual installations of 16GW by 2016, and have total installed capacity of 50GW.
But it’s not jut the big four markets that are offering huge opportunities for solar PV. In another report, Deutsche said Chile could become the first subsidy-free market in the world, explaining why it had more than 3,500MW of projects in the pipeline.
Robert Petrina, Yingli’s head in the Americas, says sales in Latin America have surged 1,700 per cent over the last year, utility-scale projects are popping up everywhere and distributed generation is very strong.