PV installations up in 2013 as revenues fall

25. January 2013 | Applications & Installations, Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Investor news, Markets & Trends, Top News | By:  Max Hall

There were mixed messages in the latest solar white paper from market research company IHS iSuppli, with predictions that a rise in global installations in 2013 will go hand-in-hand with falling revenues.

A solar installation in South Africa.

South Africa is one of the solar markets expected to gain ground at the expense of Europe this year.

The PV forecaster says that although the trend of annual rises in installed capacity will continue – taking the world from 32 to 35 GW of solar power this year – the rate of annual growth is slowing.

More worrying for companies struggling to survive in the current 'bust' phase is the news that solar revenues – calculated as average system prices multiplied by installed capacity additions – will fall to US$75 billion from $77 billion in 2012, and from a 2011 peak of $94 billion.

That grim headline news will come as no surprise to manufacturers with prices continuing to tumble, but IHS offered some comfort with the thought that the increasing fragmentation of a global market formerly centered on Europe will at least offer more stability to a notoriously boom and bust prone sector.

Ash Sharma, director of syndicated solar research for IHS, said the growth of emerging markets will mean the actions of individual governments will not have such a disproportionate effect on the solar market in future.

IHS is predicting that Europe's share of the global marketplace – 80% in 2010 – will fall to 39% this year from 53% in 2012, with Asia on track to supplant the Old World as the main source of new installations.

Former top dog Germany will slide to the third biggest market, behind China and the U.S. and ahead of Japan, with unmoving Italy in fifth place. The global share of the solar marketplace enjoyed by the big five nations is expected to retreat from 75 to 65%, due to the influence of mid-size markets such as South Africa and Romania.

Amidst the gloomy news on income, however, IHS did offer a light at the end of the tunnel with the forecast that revenues will rebound in 2014 and pass 2011's high water mark to top $115 billion in 2016.

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