The solar industry is forecast to continue its growth in 2015 with installations reaching approximately 54.5GW according to the latest quarterly update from Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm.
While actual installation numbers for 2014 are trickling in, China recently reported installation figures of 10.60GW,which implies that it missed its installation goal of 13GW by more than 2GW. This will have implications on total global installations. China also revised its 2013 actual installation figures down from 12.9GW to 10.95GW. NEA’s latest target is a very aggressive 17.8GW for 2015. Japan is forecast to have installed approximately 9GW in 2014 and is expected to be in a similar range for 2015.
Japan is running into some strong headwinds in 2015 with grid issues leading to solar power output curtailment. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Commerce (METI) just announced the revised FiT for FY 2015. The revised tariff is lowered by approximately 16% for projects >10kW. Mercom is forecasting Japanese installations to peak in 2015.
The US solar market is forecast to grow at a rapid pace in 2015 and reach more than 8.5GW as installations accelerate with the looming ITC expiration deadline at the end of next year. 2016 will undoubtedly be a big year for solar due to the expected installation rush before the ITC expiration, but the push for installations has already begun.
US trade disputes with China remain a thorn for the solar sector in 2015.
The European solar market continues to shrink with Germany installing only 1.9 W in 2014 (its lowest installation total in five years). Installation levels are forecasted to be similar in 2015 primarily due to the decline in incentives.
The UK was the most active European market with 2.2GW installed in 2014 and 2.9GW forecast in 2015. The UK solar market in 2014 was largely driven by Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROC) for projects larger than 5MW. This will likely be the best year for solar in the UK, and decline thereafter.
Indian solar installations in calendar year 2014 totaled 883MW, down slightly compared to 1,004MW installed in 2013. India failed to reach the GW mark in 2014 but is expected to double in size to about 1.8GW in 2015.
Overall, we are predicting another solid year for the global solar industry.