There’s no question that challenges still remain for the solar industry. Ash Sharma, director of solar research at IHS, notes that issues such as government incentive cuts, falling prices and a struggling global economy have all played a role in shaping the solar market.
Yet, 2012 showed some positive gains for solar including record setting installations and more efficient technology.
So, what can we expect from solar in 2013? Check out the Top 5 solar predictions from the IHS solar research team:
1. The global PV market will achieve double-digit installation growth in 2013, but market revenue will fall to $75 billion. “Industry revenues - measured as system prices multiplied by total gigawatts installed - peaked at $94 billion in 2011, but fell sharply to $77 billion in 2012, as presented in the figure below. Revenue is projected to decline once again in 2013 to $75 billion, on the back of lower volume growth and continued system price declines, given that PV component prices continue to fall.”
2. The solar module industry will consolidate further in 2013. “As 2012 comes to a close, fewer than 150 companies will remain in the photovoltaic upstream value chain, down from more than 750 companies in 2010. Most of the consolidation will involve companies going out of business entirely. Many integrated players, particularly those based in China, will fold up shop in 2013. The large expense of building and then operating integrated facilities that are underutilized will be more than many can handle financially.”
3. PV module prices will stabilize in 2H 2013 as oversupply eases. “Despite a drastic decline in prices along the silicon supply chain since March 2011, solar prices will stabilize by mid-2013. Changes in market dynamics will help restore the global supply-demand balance.”
4. Solar trade wars will rage on in 2013, yielding few winners. “As of November 2012, there were six different solar trade cases proceeding involving China, Europe, the United States and India. This cycle of sanction and retaliation will not help solve the fundamental challenge of overcapacity plaguing the global PV industry.”
5. South Africa and Romania will emerge as PV markets to watch in 2013. “The two countries next year will expand from virtually no solar installations to capacity of several hundred megawatts. The PV uptake in both markets is driven by distinct factors. In South Africa, PV additions will mainly stem from the tenders awarded in 2012; in Romania, the growth driver will be a green certificate (GC) scheme that will stay in place until 2014.”