APAC region driving global PV demand as industry transitions


NPD Solarbuzz has reported that demand in APAC reached 1.4 GW in Q2 2012, up 60% on the previous year. Meanwhile, in Q4 2012, 5.3 GW of demand is expected in the region – 50% of the year’s total – led by projects in China, India and Japan.

"While major European markets have historically fueled strong year-end PV demand, Q4’12 will represent a transition phase within the PV industry, as demand becomes increasingly global and further diversified across new and emerging PV regions," said NPD Solarbuzz in a statement released.

The company warned however, that with these APAC opportunities, come challenges. Specifically, it said project financing delays could lead to oversupply, thus impacting the industry in Q1 2013, which is only expected to see demand worth 2.1 GW. Furthermore, the region is still driven by "highly-competitive pricing with low-margin returns".

Looking at Q2 2012, photovoltaic demand in China is said to have grown more than 300% to 600 MW on the back of Golden Sun PV project deadlines. Japan is also said to be contributing to growth in the region following the introduction of its new FIT this summer.

NPD Solarbuzz added that despite the end of the 1603 federal cash grant in the U.S., 1H demand has been strong at 1.4 GW. It said that the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is still playing a key role in utility-scale photovoltaic projects in California, Arizona and Illinois. Overall, it forecasts that 1.2 GW of ground mounted projects will be added in the region in 2H 2012.

Looking to Europe, at 8.5 GW in 1H 2012, annual growth of 32% was said to have been recorded. However, "Growth opportunities within Europe are forecast to shift to emerging markets during the next couple of years, including Austria, Denmark, Israel, and various countries in the east and southeast of Europe," it said.

The pressure to expand downstream will continue, concluded NPD Solarbuzz, due to the higher margins available in this segment. Moreover, companies must possess flexibility, if they are to adapt to the rapidly evolving market conditions resulting from such changes as new policies or trade actions.