When energy historians* look back on 2014, they’re going to label it as one of the first years that predictions for the solar PV industry were hotly-covered from January to December. With December coming to a distressingly hurried close, we can expect the speculation and predictions to again pick up, as analysis firms provide final statistics for 2014 and continue their predictions for the coming year.
Taiwanese solar PV analyst firm EnergyTrend seems to be first out of the gate for December, calling the 2014 global PV demand at 44 GW, highlighting increased efforts in Japan and the US as making up for China, which it claims “did not perform as well as expectations.”
EnergyTrend’s 44 GW is in line with previous predictions for 2014 made by analyst firms such as IHS and NPD Solarbuzz (now just Solarbuzz, after its acquisition), both of whom expected anywhere between 40 and 45 GW for the year ending.
Interestingly, EnergyTrend’s figures come at the same time as Solarbuzz’s first publication since being acquired. According to the latest Solarbuzz Asia Pacific Major PV Markets Quarterly, the Asia Pacific region is forecast to reach 10 GW for the first time this quarter.
Speaking for EnergyTrend, Jason Huang, the company’s Research Manager, predicts that global solar demand for 2015 is set to reach 51.4 GW, with China, the US, and Japan again acting as the top three markets, accounting for 57% of overall PV demand. However, Huang notes that this percentage-share is less than 2014, due primarily to the rise of emerging markets.
The company also identified five major trends for the 2015 solar market.
- Polysilicon price to fall again, wafer strives for high-efficiency products
- Solar cell competition intensifies, module profit is expected to increase again
- Multi-Si material hits bottleneck, Mono-Si + PERC becomes focal point for next year’s efficiency increase
- 2015 top ten module makers take up over 50%, top 5 module shipment at 3.5GW threshold
- With 3 major variables: trade war, financial policies and electric grid development, global strategy diffuses the operational risks
In regards to EnergyTrend’s fourth prediction, it believes that a single manufacturer may break the 5 GW mark, and that to make it into the top 5 module makers for 2015, a company will need to reach at least 3.5 GW for the year. On top of that, EnergyTrend believes that emerging markets will contribute to China manufacturers making up 7 of the top 10 solar manufacturers.
*I cannot confirm that there will be such things as ‘energy historians’
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