Global information and analysis company IHS has released a news flash to journalists with updated solar PV forecasts from IHS analysts speaking at the SNEC 9th (2015) International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference & Exhibition in Shanghai.
Specifically, IHS is now forecasting global solar demand to grow by as much as 30% in 2015 over 2014 numbers, and reaching 57 GW.
Ash Sharma, senior research director for IHS, echoed the sentiments of many recently, saying that “for the third year running, China will be the largest end-market and the key driver of global demand in 2015.” This is unsurprising, given China’s recent announcement that it installed 5.04 GW of new solar capacity in the first quarter of 2015, and Deutsche Bank predicting China could very well reach, if not exceed, the government’s 17.8 GW target by the end of the year.
“China will be the largest driver of global growth, but it also presents the largest single risk to the industry’s supply-demand balance,” noted Sharma. “If the country manages to install in excess of 17 GW in 2015—which is likely—it will generate much healthier operating conditions for solar companies and a return to healthy profit margins.”
IHS also highlighted several other predictions for 2015, including a return to growth for PV inverters.
According to Cormac Gilligan, senior analyst for PV Inverters and Balance of System (BoS) for IHS, revenue from PV inverters is set to increase by more than 10% this year, growing from $6.6. billion in 2014 to $7.5 billion in 2018. Shipments of inverters will also increase to nearly 70 GW in 2018, due apparently to “strong growth in China, Japan, and emerging markets.” Pricing pressure will remain, however, “as average global inverter prices are forecast to decrease by 9% each year.”
IHS also notes that the “number of newly installed energy storage systems with solar power is increasing fast”, leading to predictions of 3.6 GW of new energy storage systems to be installed in 2018 — 15 times greater than that of 2014.
“Rising demand for electricity and increasing renewable penetration are driving a need for more energy storage,” said Isabella Ni, senior analyst for energy storage and PV demand.
Global crystalline module capacity is also set to expand significantly in 2015, with IHS analysts predicting 76.6 GW, with year-over-year crystalline module utilization increasing 72% in 2015.