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Major Asian Markets Set To Lead Solar PV Growth

In a completely unsurprising turn of events, NPD Solarbuzz forecasts that global solar PV demand is being driven by major Asian markets, with India, China, and Japan leading the way.

In a blog post on the NPD Solarbuzz website, analyst Michael Barker comments on numbers extracted from Solarbuzz Quarterly, published in June. The numbers are represented in the following image, and shows the top 10 single-country markets globally by 5- and 10-year compound average growth rates (CAGRs) through 2018.

Cumulative Market Sizes & Compound Annual Growth 2008-2018

major asian markets

Each bubble represents forecast cumulative market size by 2019, with the UK, China, and Thailand projected to have the highest 10-year CAGRs. These numbers are slightly exaggerated, however, due to the sub-100 MW size of the markets when the 10-year forecast period began (ie, 2008).

Michael Barker comments that “three of the Major Asia-Pacific countries are set to see annual demand double in 2014,” while there are two outliers from the data — the UK and Australia. “The UK has seen significant growth over the past two years as aggressive incentive policies have propelled large-scale ground-mount development,” allowing the UK to rank as a major growth market alongside India, China, and Japan. On the other side of the scale, however, is Australia, a Major Asia-Pacific country which “has struggled amidst continued policy cuts and regulatory uncertainty.”

Earlier this month NPD Solarbuzz forecasted that China could expand beyond 100 GW solar PV capacity by 2018, while mid-August saw reports that the UK had reached 5 GW solar PV capacity — only the sixth country to do so behind Germany, China, Japan, Italy, and the US.

As Barker notes in his blog post, the major threats to these forecasts is as it has always been of late — policy and regulatory uncertainty and change. Australia is currently seeing massive hits to its renewable energy industry as a result of the current government’s decision making, while countries like the US are in the midst of trade investigations creating uncertainty throughout the industry. Add to that the inevitable rethinking of subsidies and incentives, and the solar industry is likely to remain the center of conversation for many years to come.


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