Global solar installation growth set to hit three-year high in 2014

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Global photovoltaic (PV) installations are set to rise at the fastest pace in three years in 2014, despite continued cuts to government incentives in mature PV markets, according to analysis from IHS. The growth represents a turning point for Europe, which suffered a decline in solar installations in 2012 and is set for another drop in 2013.

Annual solar installations are predicted to expand at a rate of 18 per cent in 2014, reaching 41GW and marking the end of the solar industry’s two-year slowdown.

PV installations in 2014 will rise by 17 per cent, representing an increase from 15 per cent in 2012 and 13 per cent in 2013. Next year will bring the highest rate of growth since the 35 per cent increase in 2011. The figures are taken from IHS's quarterly PV Demand Market Tracker.

Market revenue in 2014 will amount to just under $89 billion.

‘While PV installations will continue to stagnate or fall in European established markets like Germany and Italy, growth is forecast in emerging countries such as Turkey, Poland, Ukraine and Russia,’ said Ash Sharma, senior research director for solar at IHS. ‘The growth in the developing PV nations will offset the poor conditions in the well-established solar markets.’

Although European installations will return to growth in 2014, Europe’s share of global installations will continue to slide as it is outpaced by Asia and the Americas. Europe’s share will fall to 29 per cent next year, down from 57 per cent in 2012. Meanwhile, Asia’s share will increase to 48 per cent, up from 29 per cent.

The acceleration in demand has already begun in 2013; IHS predicts that the fourth quarter of 2013 will close the year strongly, conforming to the industry’s seasonal pattern of a solid finish every year.  

China will be the primary driver of this year-end rush, with more than 2GW of installations projected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013.