Asia’s big 3 to dominate Solar
Over the next five-years, India, China, and Japan are forecast to see the highest growth rates, with China alone projected to pass the 100 GW cumulative installation mark in 2018. The US will see somewhat slower growth than these Asian markets, but will still be the third-largest cumulative market globally on account of its historic strength in the PV industry and its continuous growth over the past decades.
The biggest threats to these demand and growth forecasts come mainly in the form of policy and regulatory risks. The Chinese end-market has been built largely as an extension of the government’s upstream manufacturing push and is supplied almost exclusively by domestic suppliers through the PV chain. China is now the only major solar market in the world that can service its own end-market purely through domestic supply. The rise of this Chinese manufacturing base has also created backlash in other markets, and import restrictions and duties continued to be applied on many solar PV products.
The risk of further supply disruption stemming from trade investigations is real, as is the threat of market collapse in single-policy driven countries. Only by reducing costs and making PV more competitive against other energy sources will new areas open, thus reducing the risk of market collapse or trade barriers.