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Clean Power Global PV Demand Fails to Reach 30 GW

Published on February 25th, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill

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Solar PV Demand Falls Short Of 30 GW Mark, Solarbuzz Finds

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February 25th, 2013 by
 
The upcoming NPD Solarbuzz Marketbuzz report set to be released in March reports findings that solar photovoltaic (PV) demand for 2012 only reached 29 GW, an increase of only 5% year-over-year compared to 27.7 GW in 2011.

Sadly, 2012 is the first year in a decade that year-over-year market growth in the PV industry has been less than 10%.

“During most of 2012, and also at the start of 2013, many in the PV industry were hoping that final PV demand figures for 2012 would exceed the 30 GW level,” explained Michael Barker, Senior Analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “Estimates during 2012 often exceeded 35 GW as PV companies looked for positive signs that the supply/demand imbalance was being corrected and profit levels would be restored quickly. Ultimately, PV demand during 2012 fell well short of the 30 GW mark.”

Global PV Demand Fails to Reach 30 GW

2012 PV Demand by Region
Image Credit: NPD Solarbuzz Marketbuzz report

Europe remained the largest regional market with 16.48 GW of PV demand, totalling almost 60% of the global demand for 2012. This figure is down, however, from 68% in 2011 and 82% in 2010. For a long time Germany has spearheaded the growth in Europe, but in recent months has started to lose ground to the US and China.

Unsurprisingly, to those who have been following the solar industry’s exploits over the past few years, the second largest region for PV demand was Asia, coming in with 8.69 GW, thanks in part to the growth of the Chinese end-market during the second half of the year.

Of particular note from the remaining regions, California provided more than one-third of all PV demand from the entire Americas region during 2012.

“For supply and demand to have been balanced during 2012, end-market demand should have approached the 45 GW level,” added Barker. “This is 50% higher than actual PV demand in 2012, and reflects the lack of demand elasticity that characterizes the PV industry today. It also explains why even those companies that gained market-share in 2012 still ended up reporting significant operating losses.”

NPD Solarbuzz are currently predicting rapid globalisation this year, thanks to growth in regions including Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and emerging Asian markets.

“The role of emerging regions will be pivotal to PV industry supply and demand during 2013 and will offer a leading indicator for how quickly the industry can exceed the 30 GW annual run-rate level,” concluded Barker.

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I work as Associate Editor for the Important Media Network and write for CleanTechnica and Planetsave. I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), Amazing Stories, the Stabley Times and Medium.   I love words with a passion, both creating them and reading them.



  • sivadasan

    What about demand in Australia?

  • Pingback: Total Global Solar PV Capacity Now Approaching Or Over 100 GW | CleanTechnica

  • http://profiles.google.com/ivor.oconnor Ivor O’Connor

    I’m not understanding why there was only a 5% growth.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      5% more than 27.7 GW.

      • http://profiles.google.com/ivor.oconnor Ivor O’Connor

        5% is so sad. And so counter intuitive. Everywhere I look here in CA there seems to be new PV installations and solar companies. It’s hard to fathom the economics haven’t spread to the rest of the country.

  • jburt56

    China will be soaking up a lot of the excess production due to their new FIT.

  • wattleberry

    Impecunious but savvy consumers have now become quite blasé about new products and their expectation of precipitous falls in price is accelerating. It’s even more relevant with a long-life example like PV.
    This war of attrition is only just starting but will be fun!

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