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Global solar PV market - 2013 predictions

12th Apr 2013

As demonstrated by the increasing amount of dialogue between the two nations, Australia and China's involvement with one another's renewable energy efforts is progressively growing and taking on a greater significance.

Consequently, China's own clean energy and energy efficiency measures are of interest and importance to us here in Australia.

There is much insight to be gained from keeping an eye on their developments since the nations are now working so closely together, especially in the realm of solar power.

For instance, in the first quarter of 2013, seasonality and policy incentive deadlines from the end-market in China drove global solar PV demand down to 6.2 GW, which is 23 per cent down quarter-over-quarter, according for the latest NPD Solarbuzz Quarterly report.

This shows how China's demand for solar PV can have a truly global effect, reaching far and wide and of course to Australia.

NPD Solarbuzz predicts that over the next four quarters, China will account for over 20 per cent of global PV market demand, somewhere between 0.9 and 3.6 GW.

However, its capricious demand cycles are something to remain aware of, and will likely prove challenging for some PV manufacturers.

"Chinese solar PV demand was the key global driver at the end of 2012, which helped to deplete upstream inventory levels that had accumulated over previous quarters," said Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.

"However, extreme swings in PV demand from China over the next year will make capacity utilization and inventory control particularly challenging. At the same time, demand from other global PV markets is beginning to offer predictable quarterly demand levels that are essential for long-term planning."

Germany, Italy, France and the UK are nations to watch as they are set to lead solar PV demand in Europe over the next four quarters, totalling over 65 per cent of regional PV demand.

The US and Japan will also be strong markets, with Japan ruling the first half of the year and the US set to lead the second with market demand.

Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian the rest-of-world (ROW) nations including Australia will remain stable in their demand over the next four quarters with demand between 2.5 to 3.6 GW in each quarter.

The NPD Solarbuzz report also predicts that volatile demand swings will hamper the growth of the solar PV industry over the next year, particularly striking suppliers relying upon China as the ruling end-market for shipments.

More stable quarterly demand trends will be observed in Europe, Japan and the US, making it easier for suppliers focusing on these regions.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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