Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in the Americas more than doubled in the first half of 2012 (1H 2012) and will reach nearly 4.3 GW for the year. Solar PV installations rose more than 120% in the Americas in the first six months of 2012, according to IMS Research’s latest quarterly report, to reach 1.7 GW. That compares to 750 MW in the 1H 2011.
Looking at the global picture, the German and Americas markets led growth in solar PV installations through June, with global installations exceeding 13 GW for the first time ever. IMS forecasts 3 GW of new solar PV capacity coming on-line for the full year, according to IMS’ “Q3 PV Demand Report.”
“Despite the lackluster financial performance of the industry’s suppliers, underlying demand was robust in the first six months of this year, with first half installations 35 percent up on 2011,” commented IMS Research PV Research Director Ash Sharma. “The Americas market, led by the USA was unseasonably strong in the first half and did not show any significant slowdown resulting from the anti-dumping duties.”
US Solar PV Market to be World’s 3rd-Largest
The US solar PV market will contribute most to growth globally in 2012, making the US the third-largest solar PV market in the world, according to IMS. The US accounted for 40% of new solar PV capacity growth in 1H 2012. The European market, in contrast, is forecast to contract nearly 3 GW for the year despite strong first-half performance in Germany.
1H 2012’s strong growth in US solar PV installations puts paid to the contention that the imposition of anti-dumping tariffs and countervailing duties on imports of crystalline solar PV cells and modules from China would stall growth in US solar PV demand, according to the Coalition for Solar Manufacturing (CASM), which filed the WTO petitions against China with US international trade authorities.
“The new report by IMS Research effectively debunks two of the arguments made by Chinese solar manufacturers and their allies regarding the potential impact of tariffs on the U.S. solar market. First, preliminary tariffs did not slow growth of the U.S. solar market in the first half of 2012. Second, they have not had hurt downstream employment,” stated Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., the Oregon-based subsidiary of Germany’s SolarWorld AG, which leads CASM’s WTO trade litigation effort.
“The IMS study notes that demand for solar in the U.S. market grew 120 percent through the end of June, compared with the same period in 2011, and did ‘not show any significant slowdown resulting from the anti-dumping duties.’
“This statement undercuts claims that dumped Chinese panels helped ignite a boom in the U.S. solar market. The fact that demand increased 120 percent – a significantly higher level than in past years, despite significantly reduced Chinese imports over the past three months – shows that there is significant demand for solar, even without dumped and subsidized Chinese products.
“At the same time, the 35 percent increase in installations of solar panels cited in the IMS study shows there has been no negative impact on solar employment in the United States,” Brinser continued. “This result undermines the opposition’s prediction of tens of thousands of lost jobs if tariffs were imposed to counter the impact of illegally dumped and subsidized Chinese panels.”
Moreover, Brinser added, these early indications show that the penalties being preliminarily imposed on Chinese imports are having the desired effect.
“Based on what we are seeing in the marketplace, the U.S. solar market is robust, despite challenges for producers. However, as the Associated Press pointed out, the challenge is greatest for Chinese solar producers who have racked up huge losses in their attempt to dump their way to market dominance over the past two years.”
Looking at global solar PV demand going forward, IMS foresees growth in solar PV installations accelerating in the second half of 2012 (2H 2012), despite slowdowns in Germany and Italy, two key European markets.
The outlook beyond year-end is uncertain, however, IMS says. “IMS Research remains optimistic about the potential for the US PV market, and we predict it will grow to at least 3.5 GW in 2012 and become the world’s third largest PV market. The longer-term outlook for this market is less certain, although the speed at which it is developing so far in 2012 provides some encouragement,” IMS’ Sharma elaborated.
IMS Research’s quarterly report series on solar PV provides regularly updated statistics and detailed forecasts for PV installations in 45 countries including 4-quarter and 5-year forecasts, according to the company.