Photovoltaic Demand In Emerging Asian Countries Expected To Boom Through 2017

Solar photovoltaic demand from the emerging Asia Pacific and Central Asia (EAPCA) region is forecast to exceed 3 GW by 2017, based on findings in the new NPD Solarbuzz Emerging PV Markets: Asia Pacific and Central Asia report. Compared to 723 MW of PV demand in 2012, this represents a strong compound annual growth rate of 28%.

"Previously, most solar PV applications across the EAPCA region were based upon solar lighting applications or residential schemes," says Steven Han, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz." However, future PV demand will be based upon widespread adoption of large-scale, ground-mounted PV installations. By 2017, the ground mount segment will account for 64 percent of all PV demand from the EAPCA region."

Solar PV demand across the EAPCA region remains highly fragmented and is characterized by a diverse range of policies and end-market drivers, which is consistent with PV industry adoption in other emerging markets, NPD Solarbuzz says. However, solar PV is well understood by policymakers in the EAPCA region, with the Southeast Asia region widely recognized as a leading hub for upstream manufacturing.

Solar PV demand across the region will be dominated by Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan. Between 2013 and 2017, these five countries will account for 50% of the cumulative PV demand forecast from the EAPCA region, the report predicts.

Thailand is forecast to be the region's largest market, driven by rapid growth in demand for electricity and the requirement to decrease its financial burden from imported energy. Short-term PV demand will emerge by executing on project pipelines accumulated from the previous incentive scheme.

Indonesia has long-term plans for solar power to provide 0.3% of the national energy mix by 2025, equivalent to 1 GW of new solar demand. Indonesia is forecast to become the second largest solar PV market within the Southeast Asia region by 2017, supported by forthcoming feed-in-tariff incentives. Taiwan and South Korea have also prioritized solar PV within their renewable energy targets.

Over the next few years, a greater number of countries will contribute to overall PV demand from the EAPCA region, NPD Solarbuzz says. The Philippines accumulated more than 500 MW within its solar PV pipeline at the end of 2012, with strong investments coming from Japan and South Korea.

In addition, Bangladesh has developed a large off-grid PV market with plans to install an additional one million solar PV systems by 2016. Kazakhstan is targeting 77 MW of solar power generation over the next few years, and Pakistan has announced over 500 MW of solar deployment.

"Although challenges will remain in securing adequate solar PV project financing, we forecast that overall PV demand from the EAPCA region will account for 5 percent of global PV demand by 2017, with the potential to reach 5 GW," says Han.

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