Solar photovoltaic demand is forecast to reach 49 GW in 2014, up from 36 GW this year, according to findings in the latest quarterly report from NPD Solarbuzz.
According to the report, the fourth quarter of this year (Q4'13) will be another record quarter for the solar PV industry, exceeding the 12 GW threshold for the first time. Furthermore, demand in the first quarter of 2014 (Q1'14) will also set records.
Over the six-month period from October 2013 to March 2014, the solar PV industry will install almost 22 GW, which is greater than all PV installations between 2005 and 2009, during the previous high-growth phase of the industry driven by the European market.
NPD Solarbuzz says record solar PV demand in Q4'13 is heavily weighted toward the three leading countries for end-market – China, Japan and the U.S. Two-thirds of all solar panels installed in Q4 will be located in these three countries.
By the end of 2014, many of the leading Chinese crystalline silicon module suppliers will be reporting silicon and non-silicon costs below $0.50/w, NPD Solarbuzz predicts. The resulting growth in operating margins will then provide a solid foundation upon which to guide new capacity additions that have been on hold now for 18 months.
‘Manufacturing over-capacity and pricing erosion within the PV industry was previously a key factor in limiting annual growth to 10%-20% between 2011 and 2013,’ says Finlay Colville, vice president at NPD Solarbuzz. ‘With a more stable pricing environment and the prospects of increased end-market globalization, NPD Solarbuzz forecasts a return to annual growth above 30% for the PV industry in 2014.’