Solarbuzz | December 15, 2014 — Quarterly solar photovoltaic (PV) demand in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is forecast to reach the 10 gigawatt (GW) level for the first time, in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2014.

According to the latest Solarbuzz Asia Pacific Major PV Markets Quarterly report, annual APAC PV demand in 2014 is forecast to grow 19 percent over the previous year, driven mainly by a year-end installation rush in China, as well as strong growth in Japan.

Overall, the APAC PV demand is forecast to continue growing and maintain shares in global PV market at over 50 percent level in 2015, said SolarBuzz, now part of IHS (NYSE: IHS). China contributed the most demand in the APAC PV market in Q4 2014, although China’s PV demand was weaker than expected in the first three quarters. Ground-mount projects still dominate the Chinese market, as the building-mount segment supported by distributed PV subsidies slowly builds up.

“Although the National Energy Administration recently announced that only 3.8 gigawatt PV systems were connected to the grid, during the first three quarters of 2014, many projects have already begun construction,” said Isabella Ni, China analyst for Solarbuzz. “With a year-end surge of installations in the fourth quarter, even after three weak quarters, full-year PV demand in China will exceed its 2013 level.”

PV demand in Japan during 2014 is forecast to grow 46 percent year-over-year in 2014, due to favorable government incentives, according to the Solarbuzz report. Project pipelines also provided strong support to the Japanese PV market, reaching more than 56 GW through the end of Q3 2014.

“Since the end of the third quarter, five regional utilities in Japan announced suspension of replies for non-residential projects; however, these issues will not significantly impact PV demand in Japan through 2015,” said Holly Hu, China analyst at Solarbuzz. Total demand within the five utility regions accounts for about 35 percent of Japan’s demand in 2014. PV projects that have already received approval for grid connection are not affected.

In India, the Minister of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) proposed increasing the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) target from 22 GW to 100 GW by 2020. Twelve states also announced their ultra-solar park plans, with about 20 GW of projects in the pipeline. “India may become the most exciting PV market in APAC region during the next several years,” Hu said. “Since the new Prime Minister, Narendra Modii, came on board, the government of India has announced many ambitious solar PV development plans.”

In Australia, the new Renewable Energy Target (RET) is still under negotiation, while residential installations are driving PV demand in Q4 2014 to their highest level. Meanwhile, the ground-mount segment is also increasing, driven by construction of three large-scale, ground-mount projects. “The new China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which potentially may resolve the trade dispute with China on PV panels, is also good news for the Australia PV market,” Ni said.

Thailand and the emerging APAC PV markets are also showing growth potential, in the coming years. The ground-mount segment is forecast to increase its market share in emerging markets, as large projects are currently planned in the Phillippines, Pakistan and other countries.

The NPD Solarbuzz Asia Pacific Major PV Markets Quarterly provides data analysis and commercial insight into country specific PV market segments for PV companies, equipment manufacturers, materials suppliers and PV systems integrators.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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