China set to lead 2014 solar energy boom

Analysts predict global solar  installations will exceed 40GW by 2014, with China planning more than 2GW of new PV

(Pic: Suntech)

China is set to lead the fastest uptake of solar in recent history, with plans to install more than 2GW of photovoltaic (PV) by the end of 2013.

According to new research from market analysts at IHS, global PV installations are forecast to exceed 40GW by 2014 for the first time, generating installation revenue of more than $86 billion.

“PV installations will accelerate in 2014 driven by low system prices, the creation of new markets in emerging regions and the continued growth in major countries such as the United States, Japan and China,” said Ash Sharma, senior research director for solar at IHS.

“As the industry’s recovery accelerates and market revenue returns to near record levels, solar manufacturers will leave behind the turmoil of recent years and enjoy improved business conditions.”

PV installations in 2014 will rise by 17%, an increase from 15% in 2012 and 13% in 2013. The year 2014 will bring the highest rate of growth since the 35% increase in 2011.

The growth also represents a significant turning point for Europe, which suffered a steep decline in solar installations in 2012 and is set for another drop in 2013.

“While PV installations will continue to stagnate or fall in established European markets like Germany and Italy, rapid growth is forecast in emerging countries in the region, such as Turkey, Poland, Ukraine and Russia,” Sharma noted.

“The growth in the developing PV nations will more than offset the poor conditions in the large, well-established solar markets.”

Although European installations will return to growth in 2014, Europe’s share of global installations will continue to slide as it is outpaced by Asia and the Americas.

Europe’s share will fall by almost 30% this year compared to 2012. Meanwhile, Asia’s share will increase to 48%, up from 29%.

The acceleration in demand has already begun in 2013; IHS predicts that the fourth quarter of 2013 will close the year strongly, with the highest number of quarterly installations in two years.

The robust performance in the fourth quarter conforms to the industry’s seasonal pattern of a solid finish every year.

The surge in installations in the fourth quarter is driven by incentive cuts that go into effect at the end of each year. Individuals and organizations typically rush to complete their solar projects while government subsidies are still in force.

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