Clean Power

Published on October 14th, 2013 | by Adam Johnston


Third Quarter 2013 Solar PV Installations Reach 9 GW

October 14th, 2013 by  

Third quarter global solar installations in 2013 reached 9 GW, according to a recent report. NPD Solarbuzz Quarterly said demand increased 6% compared to the second quarter, while advancing 20% above a year earlier.


Image Credit: Solar PV End Market via NPD Solarbuzz

Price stabilization provided some underlying support in the third quarter, analysts said. “The record levels of mid-year demand in 2013 have been critical to the overall recovery of the solar PV sector,” said NPD Solarbuzz senior analyst Michael Barker. “Restored confidence in end-market growth is allowing leading solar PV manufacturers to pursue aggressive shipment strategies within both established and emerging territories, despite earlier concerns that trade wars could dampen growth.”

Fourth quarter PV demand is expected to remain strong, reaching between 10-12 GW. China and the US will take half of the further gains, the report noted.

Revenues for solar PV end markets are targeted for $21 billion in the last quarter of 2013, and $65-$75 billion by year’s end. That compares to $68 billion in 2012 and $92 billion two years ago, when system prices were higher.

NPD Solarbuzz is the first report to come out about third quarter PV installation numbers. IHS still has not released for this period. However, it did recently report 2013 second quarter global solar installations were 8.5 GW, up from 7.1 GW in the first.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , ,

About the Author

is expected to complete the Professional Development Certificate in Renewable Energy from the University of Toronto by December 2017. Adam recently completed his Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College Continuing & Online Learning. Adam also graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a three-year B.A. combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications in 2011. Adam owns a part-time tax preparation business. He also recently started up Salay Consulting and Social Media services, a part-time business which provides cleantech writing, analysis, and social media services. His eventual goal is to be a cleantech policy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or check out his business

  • Adam Grant

    Right now, while renewables are only somewhat cheaper than fossil fuels, we’re seeing new renewable generation replacing old fossil capacity as fossil plants get old and pollution regulations tighten.
    As renewables continue to get cheaper and make up a larger fraction of the energy mix, energy as a whole will gradually become cheaper, which should pull the world economy out of its current slow growth mode. From an economic point of view, the sources of energy are less important than that the energy pie, which has remained about the same size since 2005, will once again start to get larger.
    Note that although the volume of fossil fuels pulled out of the ground has continued to increase over the last decade, the energy content has decreased, so the amount of energy available to do work for humanity hasn’t increased much, and the second derivative of total fossil energy is strongly negative, even if the total is still increasing.
    At the moment it’s difficult to say which of decreasing fossil EROEI or the increasing rate of renewable installation are winning, although the sheer vastness of the planet’s solar and wind resources should eventually underpin a period of fast economic growth.
    How soon? Renewables may already have pulled the world economy back from the brink of destruction.

  • JamesWimberley

    2012 was experienced by the industry as a glut/slump, even though global installations rose. But if you look at the chart, it´s clear that 2011 was the outlier, a spike above trend. The four-year trend from 2010 is quite steady and rapid growth. I dare say it would be the same if you extended the series back a decade.

    • mds

      There has definitely been a slow down. A pattern of over-production and then pull-back is typical of disruptive growth markets. Although, in this case you’d have to untangle from a transition from government incentive influenced growth to more market driven growth. Solar PV has been going through this transition as well. That transition is a real joy to see, since it means the Solar PV market can no longer be stopped.
      We have lost pace of growth relative to the last decade, but we are coming out of that now. It will be very interesting to see if we go back to a doubling of production every two years again. We won’t know for a few years, but demand increases exponentially with a linear drop in cost. …and the cost of Solar PV is still dropping. Installation and BOS cost is the lions share now and that will continue to drop in the USA. …two years behind Germany! …the USA energy market is huge!
      Time to bring out the global annual production bar charts for Solar PV again!

      • Bob_Wallace

        BoS costs in the US seem to be mostly permitting/paperwork costs and “customer acquisition” – selling systems.

        couple of states are experimenting with streamlined permitting. I
        think it’s Vermont which lets one fill out a simple form on line and do
        the installation, getting an inspection at the end as one would do for
        any minor building project.

        As the federal subsidy disappears I
        think the paperwork costs will drop. IIRC some of the effort goes into
        filling out the detailed report in order to qualify for the rebate.

        As system prices fall it should take a lot less time to “sell” a system. They should start selling themselves.

        “in the second quarter of 2013, it cost $0.49 per watt for an average
        6-kilowatt residential solar PV system to gain a single new customer. To
        put that into perspective, in the same time period, modules could be
        bought for $0.68 per watt, so the companies spent roughly 72 percent as
        much on customer acquisition as they spent on modules. And to compare it
        on a global scale, in Germany, customer acquisition costs are just $0.07 per watt, according to a study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.”

        Germany’s high cost of electricity (36c/kWh) and low price of installed solar (~$2/watt) do the selling.

      • JamesWimberley

        Yes, there´s been a slowdown from doubling in two years to doubling in four. The latter has taken place against the background of a huge and disruptive shift from a narrowly Eurocentric market to a more diverse and Pacific-centric market, which will stay that way. This geographical diversity as well as widespread grid parity make this new market far more resistant to policy shocks; on average, bad news in Australia (etc.) is compensated by good news in Turkey (etc.) Finally, the survivor companies are leaner, bigger and more integrated. The odds favour a speedup over a slowdown over the next few years.

        • mds

          Agree completely. Good news in Chile too.
          I’m not sure Australia is really all that bad of news. Residential Solar PV is so much cheaper than end-of-grid electricity there that I don’t think the conservatives will be able to put the genie back in the bottle. Australia is going to have a lot of homes and a lot of towns discover they don’t really need the grid any more. This is going to be one of several new grid solutions: no grid needed. Low-cost storage, coming to the market now, will help make this happen. The Australian grid is too spread out, too expensive. What will other conservatives in the world (gunning for just coal, nuke, and NG) say if the Australian Solar PV market just keeps on trucking along. …and of course it will because of the huge economic advantage Solar PV now has there. This will be interesting to watch.

Back to Top ↑