Growth in global solar photovoltaic (PV) demand is expected to soar over the next two years, after a cracking start to the first quarter of 2014 saw more than 9GW of capacity added worldwide – 35 percent more than the previous first-quarter record, set last year.
According to the latest NPD Solarbuzz Quarterly report, “every quarter in 2014 is forecast to reach new highs, with trailing 12-month demand at the end of Q1 2015 forecast to exceed 50GW for the first time.”
The report credits the record level of first quarter PV growth to strong markets in Japan and the UK, which together accounted for more than one-third of global solar PV demand for the period and set new quarterly records for PV deployed.
“The record demand added by the PV industry is the fifth straight year that a quarterly record has been set at the start of the year,” said Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.
“While demand during the first quarter typically sets the low point for the year, deployment levels during this quarter provide an excellent means of benchmarking demand for the rest of the coming year.
“Purely on a pro-rata basis, the first quarter of 2014 provides strong confidence that 2014 solar PV demand will indeed reach, and possibly even surpass, NPD Solarbuzz’s 2014 full-year forecast of 49 GW,” Barker said.
The report notes that the trailing 12-month demand suggests the true size of the global PV industry today is almost 40GW, and “will likely break through the pivotal 50GW barrier” by the end of Q1 2015, bringing the industry much closer to rational supply and demand levels.
“During the past few years, the solar PV industry has been waiting for end-market demand to catch up with the excess manufacturing capacity added between 2010 and 2012,” added Finlay Colville, vice-president of NPD Solarbuzz.
“This wait is now coming to an end. As annual demand approaches the 50 GW level, suppliers will finally be able to shift their focus from short-term tactical survival to long-term strategic planning.”
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