IHS predictions indicate that all signs point to a strengthening recovery of the solar industry in 2015, even if the recovery itself remains incredibly fragile.
While 2014 remained a challenging time for the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry, it marked an inflection point in the market’s development. According to a new white paper issued by the IHS Solar service at information and analytics provider IHS, solar PV demand grew at a double-digit pace, largely due to policies in China and Japan; yet conditions remained extremely tough for suppliers.
“Through mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies, the supplier base consolidated further, as companies struggled with debt-laden balance sheets and a rapid shift in their customer base away from their traditional markets,” said Ash Sharma, senior research director for solar at IHS. “All signs point to a strengthening recovery of the solar industry in 2015, even if the recovery itself remains incredibly fragile.”
Following are the top 10 predictions for 2015 from the IHS solar research team:
1. Global solar PV demand is forecast to grow by up to 25 percent in 2015. Due to the ongoing cost reductions for solar PV, IHS forecasts that installation demand will grow at a double-digit rate of 16 to 25 percent and installations in the range of 53 to 57 gigawatts (GW). Geographically, the largest markets again will be China, Japan and the United States, while the largest contributors in terms of absolute growth will be China, the United States and India.
2. Concentrated Photovoltaic Solar (CPV) to experience accelerated growth. Starting in 2015, IHS forecasts an accelerated CPV market expansion of 37 percent, to reach approximately 250 megawatts (MW) of new installations. Installations of both high-concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) and low-concentration photovoltaic (LCPV) systems will expand at double-digit percentages every year through 2020.
3. Distributed PV (DPV) in China to fall behind expectations, but continues to grow. With challenges ahead for China’s ambitious plans for DPV, IHS forecasts the country will struggle to achieve it aggressive targets. Even so, the market is clearly beginning to build momentum, and policies and business models are helping to accelerate growth. IHS forecasts that DPV installations in China will reach 4.7 GW in 2015, an increase of nearly 20 percent from 2014.
4. Grid-connected PV energy storage installations to triple. The PV power system is evolving away from the traditional and relatively simple system of one-directional flow—from large-scale conventional generators through transmission and distribution lines to consumers, to an increasingly complex mix of small, distributed generators and consumers at all points in the electricity grid. Annual installations of grid-connected PV systems, paired with energy storage, will grow more than threefold, to reach 775 MW in 2015.
5. Emerging markets mature – Chile will follow South Africa to reach 1 GW of installed PV capacity. IHS forecasts that Chile will be the next emerging market, after South Africa, to reach the milestone of 1 GW in installed PV solar capacity. Aside from Chile, other new emerging markets poised for rapid growth in 2015 are Jordan, the Philippines and Honduras. Conversely, great uncertainty still surrounds Mexico, Brazil and Turkey.