Germany, China, and North America led the way in the top 10 photovoltaic (PV) global market places in 2012 based on recent research done by NPD Solarbuzz analysis.
In a recent PV Tech article, Germany again took top prize with 26% of the global PV market share, thanks to slight volume increases on a year-on-year basis. However, the solar giants dipped 2% on their portion of total world demand.
Roaring into the number two spot was China at 16% . The emerging market country showed massive gains, helping to advance its market share on a year-on-year basis by 70%. The extremely fast growth in China helped them leapfrog past Italy, which fell to fourth (11%).
Meanwhile, North American markets — consisting of the United States and Canada — jumped up the ladder by two spots (past Italy) to third spot (12%).
Much of the upward trend seen in North America was its doubling of its year-on-year market share. Just in the third quarter of 2012 alone the United States saw 684 megawatts (MW) of new installed solar capacity, an increase of 44% compared to the third quarter of 2011.
Coming in at number five was Japan (7%); sixth France (4%); seventh Greece (3%); eighth Australia (3%); ninth India (2%) and the United Kingdom was tenth (2%). All other countries represented 14% of the global market share in 2012. Overall in 2012, the top ten markets made up 86% of world PV demand.
However, that did not stop global markets outside the top ten from growing. In fact, countries outside the top ten advanced their market share by 3%, while increasing their volume by more than 40%.
In 2013, expect more shakeups within the top ten.
NPD predicts China will claim number one, and Japan number four, due to a 50% increase in growth within the Japanese market. Brian Barker, Senior Analyst with NPD Solar Buzz said the solar markets, once dominated by Europe, is now getting a run for its money from other competitors:
The developments are a dramatic change from several years ago when PV demand was almost entirely dominated by European markets. The shift towards other markets is broadly beneficial to the industry, as it reduces the risk of strong demand swings due to abrupt policy changes in any single country.
World demand has also been helped with ongoing declining solar costs, which have helped contribute to consumer demand for solar power. However, NPD suggests there could be some head winds facing global solar markets in 2013, including various trade conflicts and concerns over Chinese capacity levels.
The Future of Global Solar Markets
Will 2013 see continued phenomenal growth of global solar markets, or will they be tempered by trade war concerns? Don’t be surprised to see continued strong growth in world demand. However, trade wars may limit further upside potential for another sunny year for the global PV market this year.
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