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What Will The 2014 European Solar PV Market Look Like?

Vice President and Team Leader at NPD Solarbuzz, Finlay Colville, has published a blog post looking at solar PV module supply to Europe during 2014, and asks the question, is there any cause for alarm?

The question comes in the wake of a roiling shifting of previous trends and stability. Not only has there been the introduction of tariffs to halt the market being flooded with Chinese-made solar products — of which the broad details show a floor pricing of €0.56/W and an annual quota limit at the 7 GW level for Chinese module supply to Europe — but Europe’s global solar PV demand fell from its height of 70-80% to only 25-30%.

Subsequently, Colville’s blog post addresses three key issues:

  • What is the current market opportunity in Europe for all module suppliers?
  • Is there going to be a module supply problem during 2014?
  • What is the residual Served Addressable Market for the many Tier 2 and Tier 3 module suppliers to Europe that were intended to be the beneficiaries of the European Commission’s investigations during 2012 and 2013?

The answers are based on new research conducted by NPD Solarbuzz over the past few weeks as well as updated checks through the downstream channels in Europe.

As the graph below shows, Chinese Tier 1 module suppliers have maintained an average of 40% market share in the European market, experiencing the same highs and lows as the market did overall, and is furthermore expected to carry this share through much of 2014.


The second image shows the served addressable market for the Tier 2 and 3 module suppliers, which subtracts the top-11 Chinese suppliers, as well as the share held by REC Solar, SolarWorld, Conergy, SunPower, and Kyocera.


Excluding the 4.4 GW serviced by Chinese Tier 1 suppliers, and the additional 2-3 GW supplied by Tier 2 Chinese suppliers, approximately 2 GW is left during 2014 for Tier 2 and 3 suppliers based outside of China. Finlay’s conclusion bode well for Europe, though suppliers will need to focus very closely on the market as it shifts over the next 12 months:

However, with plenty of opportunities outside Europe, and having their domestic end-market to themselves (and as the largest PV market in both 2013 and 2014), the Chinese module suppliers can happily live with 7 GW into Europe during 2014. And a 3-4 GW market opportunity for the other suppliers is also a reasonable challenge, given the level of capacity now available from this grouping (post the 2011 and 2012 insolvency phase). Finally, a 2 GW Europe SAM for a hundred or so module makers that have 30-300 MW of module capacity each is attractive enough to keep Europe on their radar during 2014.

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