Despite a very weak start for the sector, more than 22 GW of new global PV capacity will be added by the end of the year, according to a new report from IMS Research. The company has increased its PV capacity forecast for the full year by more than 1 GW.
The company cited growing demand in all major markets – most notably in Asia and the Americas – as well as a pick-up in the sluggish German market, and it projects that installations in the second half of the year will be nearly double that seen in the first six months.
IMS Research's latest global demand report, which analyzes installations rather than registrations or connections in more than 60 downstream markets, predicts that demand will grow rapidly in the second half of this year due to rapidly falling module prices, incoming incentives in new markets and planned year-end cuts in existing markets.
‘Although installations grew just 13 percent in Q2 from Q1, the results of our latest report show that there will be a huge surge in installations in the second half of the year,’ says Ash Sharma, senior research director for PV. ‘Several midsized markets – like the U.S. – are growing massively, while markets like Germany and Italy are starting to pick up, too.’
According to the report, several European markets – including Germany – are predicted for a major slowdown or even a fall this year. However, Europe overall will be only 1% down this year due to geographic diversification, with high demand coming from a number of new countries, such as Slovakia and the U.K.
IMS Research says that 11 countries in Europe will install at least 100 MW this year, with 20 countries globally installing this amount or more – up from just 13 the previous year. This increasing diversity in the market is helping to support demand and provide stability to a market that was once dependent for growth on just one or two countries.
One significant factor in the increased forecast is the recently introduced national feed-in tariff (FIT) in China. This FIT pays a premium for installations completed this year but continues past the end of the year, accompanying the country's Golden Sun program.
‘We earlier predicted the introduction of a PV FIT in China, once prices had fallen to an acceptable level, and we're forecasting installations of 1.3 GW this year and more than 2 GW in 2012,’ says Sharma. In the longer term, IMS Research projects that China will become a key player for PV – becoming one of the top three global markets in 2015.
IMS Research has also updated and released its top 10 markets for 2011. Although Europe still dominates the global PV market, only four of the 10 most important markets in 2011 will be European, with Asian markets ranking prominently.
‘At the same time, it's important to remember that Europe will still account for close to 70 percent of global installations this year, and in fact, the next five largest markets are all European,’ Sharma points out.
The 10 most important PV markets in 2011, according to IMS Research, will be Germany, Italy, the U.S., China, Japan, France, Australia, India, Spain and Canada.
The company says it is now also more optimistic about the midterm future for the PV industry and has also raised its projections for 2012.
‘The decision by the Chinese government to introduce a national FIT to boost flagging demand, as well as a diversifying global market and the introduction of new incentive schemes globally presents a much more optimistic, but still very challenging future for the industry,’ Sharma explains.
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