Analysis for the 2011 calendar year by market researcher SolarBuzz gives an interesting perspective of which way Australia is heading in the solar photovoltaic market compared to its big rivals in Asia: Australian installations are falling, while China and India in particular are going up, but Australia is unique in deploying little or no solar PV at utility or commercial scale.
The SolarBuzz research found that the solar PV market in theAsia region grew by 165 per cent to 6GW in 2011, with 2.8GW coming in the fourth quarter alone. A further 40 per cent growth is tipped for 2012.
China emerged as the dominant force in the region, as the graph below amply demonstrates, growing six fold and accounting for one half of regional demand. In the last quarter alone, some 1.7GW of solar PV was installed in China as authorities flagged a 13 per cent reduction in the newly installed feed in tariff. It estimated that there is a 20GW pipeline of solar PV in China.
Source: NPD Solarbuzz Asia Pacific Major PV Markets Quarterly report
“The China PV market was reshaped in 2011 by the release of the national FIT,” said Ray Lian, an analyst at Solarbuzz, said the FiT completely reshaped the China market, and ground mounted projects, as opposed to household rooftop, accounted for much of the installations. The Qinghai province alone installed 1GW of ground mounted projects.
India, boosted by the National Solar Mission and the Gujarat state based scheme, more than doubled installations in the fourth quarter as developed rushed to compete projects by deadline. This is expected to continue with more than 600MW to be installed in the first quarter of 2012.
SolarBuzz said other markets in Asia accounted for an additional 500MW of demand in 2011, largely driven by Thailand, Korea and Taiwan. This is expected to increase by more than 50 per cent in 2012, along with the emergence of new markets in Malaysia and the Philippines.
Australia, on the other hand, is trending in a different direction, with installations down 10 per cent in the fourth quarter and tipped to fall another 20 per cent in the current quarter, as various state based schemes were reduced or terminated. The fiscal year 2012 market is forecast to fall by 30% before picking up in 2013 as large-scale ground-mounted systems finally begin to come online. The first such project is due for completion this year.