Mexico, Chile and Brazil to lead PV in the region

An annual growth rate of 45% is forecasted. The report also highlights that Mexico, Chile and Brazil will be the countries that dominate PV in the region. These countries are driven by policies like the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and the implementation of net-metering, among others. These countries will encompass almost 70% of PV demand within the region according to NPD Solarbuzz.

Ground-mounted systems are seen as the dominant sector in the region, poised to provide 60% of PV demand by 2017. Commercial and residential segments will see increased PV adoption from 2015 onwards driven by lower PV prices and local installers start getting more active targeting new revenue sources. The off-grid segment will also continue to grow with increased demand from rural electrification and development initiatives.

According to the report, the region’s energy regulators should have received PV project applications in excess of 6GW by the end of last year. Hence a healthy pipeline exists for PV producers, developers and installers according to NPD Solarbuzz.

Obstacles

PV is on the growth path in the region, but there are technical, economic and political hurdles to cross nevertheless. Chris Sunsong, Analyst at NPD Solarbuzz said, "PV connection and integration procedures are not yet clearly defined, and there are concerns about grid stability as PV contributions come online." He also added that electricity subsidies in Mexico and low natural gas prices in Peru are also delaying the onset of PV grid-parity for some end-user categories, while import tariffs across the region are keeping PV system costs on the high side.

After the tumultuous year in 2012, PV remains on an uncertain path in solar forerunners Europe as well as the other PV strongholds China, the U.S. and India. Hence Latin America becomes all the more important. "Having a successful market-entry strategy for Latin America is now essential for leading PV suppliers before key markets develop in the region and supply-chains and purchasing channels are established," concluded Sunsong.