During Q3’13, end-market demand from the global solar PV industry reached a new Q3 record of 9 GW. This record demand is up 6% Q/Q and almost 20% Y/Y, according to findings in the latest NPD Solarbuzz Quarterly report.
Both mid-year quarters, Q2’13 and Q3’13, have achieved record solar PV demand levels, resulting in more than 17 GW of new solar PV installations. This mid-year surge in new installations is almost 3 GW more than the solar PV industry has ever achieved in the past.
“The record levels of mid-year demand in 2013 have been critical to the overall recovery of the solar PV sector,” added Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPDSolarbuzz. “Restored confidence in end-market growth is allowing leading solar PV manufacturers to pursue aggressive shipment strategies within both established and emerging territories, despite previous concerns that trade wars could dampen growth.”
During Q3’13, there were continued signs of stabilized pricing, with module ASPs decreasing by less than 1% Q/Q, compared to last year’s 12% price decline between Q2’12 and Q3’12. Combined with strong industry demand this year, end-market revenues have increased for three consecutive quarters and exceeded $13 billion during Q3’13.
End-market solar PV system revenues are forecast to reach $21 billion in Q4’13, with full-year 2013 revenues expected to be in the range of $65-75 billion. This compares to $68 billion in 2012 and $92 billion in 2011 when module and system prices were 20-50% higher than today.
During Q4’13, solar PV demand is forecast to grow to 10-12 GW, with half of the characteristic year-end surge in demand coming from China and the US.
Strong end-market demand is set to continue during Q1’14, historically the weakest quarter for the industry. This is being driven by leading solar PV countries whose scheduled incentive rate reductions align with end-March fiscal years. As a result, during Q1’14, record quarterly solar PV installations are forecast in both Japan and the UK, as project developers rush to complete large-scale projects before April 2014 policy adjustments.
By analyzing the latest end-market PV forecasts for the top 100 solar PV countries, NPD Solarbuzz now estimates that global PV demand for 2014 will be in the range of 45-55 GW. The Asia Pacific (APAC) region is forecast to have more than 50% of the 2014 demand, with emerging regions increasing their global share to 10%. Similar to 2H’13, 2014 is forecast to be dominated by two countries in particular, China and Japan, with 40-45% of the annual demand.