04 April 2012
Global solar PV installations will grow by at least 3.5% and up to 21% in 2012, according to a new report from IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS. The market analyst firm forecasts that despite incentive cuts in most of the world’s largest markets, global installations will grow from 26.9GW in 2011 to between 27.8GW and 32.6GW in 2012, with Europe’s share of installations falling from 69% last year to 50% this year.
IMS Research’s Q1’12 PV Demand Database, which tracks installations in more than 60 countries, revealed that new PV installations reached 26.9GW in 2011 and its most likely forecast shows this growing to 27.8GW this year. (Note that figures are for installations and not grid connections; the figure for grid connections in 2011 would be much higher.)
The new report’s “optimistic forecast” shows installations growing by 21% to 32.6GW this year.
According to the Q1’12 report, at least 23 counties will install 100MW or more this year, up from just 17 last year. “It is this geographic diversification that will help drive growth in global PV installations this year as the market becomes less dependent on just one or two markets. Ultimately it will also lead to stability for the industry in the longer term as the impact of a single country’s policy will weaken,” said Ash Sharma, senior research director for photovoltaics.
Germany, however, is still predicted to remain the largest and most important PV market this year and despite the overhaul to its FiT policy, new installations are predicted to reach at least 6GW this year and up to 8.5GW is even possible. Such a result would have been almost unthinkable a few months back, but IMS Research found that demand in Q1 was extremely high in a rush to beat the incoming changes.
Although Germany will remain the largest market, IMS Research predicts that China will become the second largest, followed closely by Italy. “China remains one of the most unpredictable factors in the global supply and demand balance. With European demand faltering, the Chinese government is under increased pressure to accelerate domestic deployment to support its huge manufacturing base. Installations of up to 8GW would be unlikely in China this year, but still a possibility,” Sharma said.