China, U.S, Japan Lead Record Solar Growth


The solar industry in the United States has been growing at record rates year after year. Even so, the U.S. is not currently the largest market in the world. China actually has seen the most growth, and with its commitment to clean energy it looks to continue this trend into the future.  With these changes in the industry, it can be useful to look at the global market for PV installations.

NPD Solarbuzz is looking into this and has released its quarterly report, which predicts how much solar will be installed in Q4 2014. The report forecasts that installations will exceed 19.5 GW, pushing global cumulative PV deployment toward the 200 GW mark. The amount of solar PV deployed in Q4 is forecast to be equivalent to the energy supplied by five large-scale nuclear power plants and will surpass the total annual solar PV deployed in 2010. This record quarterly figure will be driven in large part by China, and will ensure that the PV industry approaches Solarbuzz’s previously forecast 50 GW annual installation level in 2014.

The Chinese market is driving year-end growth, with Q4 demand expected to exceed 7 GW, more than doubling that of Q3, and up more than 10% compared to Q4 2013. Japan and the United States are also forecast to add several GW of demand during the Q4. These three major countries are set to account for approximately 70% of PV deployed in this period.

With the PV industry approaching a more balanced supply-and-demand environment, investments in new manufacturing facilities are likely to be announced soon. “Global PV end-market demand continues to set new records, restoring investor confidence in the PV industry after several years of overcapacity and declining profits,” said Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “Having been put on hold over the past six months, due mainly to trade-related uncertainties, record quarterly and annual shipment levels will prove crucial to investors that have been hesitant to commit to new capacity funds.”