Greentech Lead America: Solar photovoltaic (PV) demand decreased by less than 10 percent for the first time in a decade, says NPD Solarbuzz Marektbuzz report on 2012 solar PV market.
The demand for solar PV reached just 29.0 GW, an increase of only 5 percent year-over-year compared to 27.7 GW in 2011. This is against the general expectation of the industry which hoped final PV demand figures for 2012 would exceed the 30 GW level.
“Estimates during 2012 often exceeded 35 GW as PV companies looked for positive signs that the supply/demand imbalance was being corrected and profit levels would be restored quickly,” said Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “Ultimately, PV demand during 2012 fell well short of the 30 GW mark.”
However, it is significant to note that 29.0 GW of demand added during 2012 is nearly 30 percent of all installed PV capacity at the end of 2012—a new annual record for the industry.
Despite the challenges associated with declining incentives in 2012, Europe contributed for the largest share (almost 60 percent of global demand) in 2012 but less than 2011 (68 percent) and 2010 (82 percent). In 2012, Europe recorded 16.48 GW of PV demand.
Asia became the second largest region for PV demand with 8.69 GW, stimulated by the growth of the Chinese end-market during the second half of 2012.
China, Japan, India, and Australia to account for 90% of solar PV demand in APAC in 2013
Recently NPD Solarbuzz also projected China, Japan, India and Australia as the major solar PV markets for 2013. The demand from the Asia Pacific (APAC) region is forecast to grow to 13.5 GW in 2013, growing 50 percent YoY, the report said.
PV demand from the Americas is now segmented across North America (US and Canada), and the Latin America and Caribbean regions, according to NPD researchers.
The Americas provided 13 percent of global PV demand in 2012, or 3.68 GW. However, a large portion of PV demand from the Americas came exclusively from California, driven by Renewable Portfolio Standards and rebates. In fact, California provided more than one-third of all PV demand from the entire Americas region during 2012.
NPD Solarbuzz forecasts that the PV industry will see rapid globalization during 2013, incorporating growth from new regions including Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, and emerging Asian markets. However, uncertainties still exist in many of these regions that will impact on the rate of adoption of renewables and exactly how much solar PV will be added during 2013.
“The role of emerging regions will be pivotal to PV industry supply and demand during 2013 and will offer a leading indicator for how quickly the industry can exceed the 30 GW annual run-rate level,” concluded Barker.