Asia Pacific to account for 50% of global PV demand in 2014

The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region will dominate solar PV demand in 2014, accounting for approximately 50% of all new demand next year, according to findings from the latest NPD Solarbuzz APAC PV Markets Quarterly report.

Nearly 95% of new solar PV capacity in the APAC region in 2014 will come from just five countries: China, Japan, India, Australia, and Thailand. The APAC countries are forecast to install more than 23 GW of solar PV in 2014, setting a new record for solar PV installed annually within any region. This record PV level represents more than the entire global PV industry installed in 2010, and it is even greater than the 19.2 GW installed in Europe in 2011, when Germany and Italy were the leading global solar-PV countries, NPD Solarbuzz found.

"APAC will dominate both manufacturing supply and end-market demand in 2014, with more than 80% of module production also coming from the region," said NPD Solarbuzz analyst Steven Han. "This milestone marks the final chapter in the transition from historic European domination to a new PV industry, where supply and demand from APAC will determine the basis of the 50 GW global PV industry going into 2015."

The record level of solar PV demand from the APAC region during 2014 will represent 35% annual growth compared to 2013, when more than 18 GW of new solar PV is expected to be installed in APAC. With more than 85% of APAC installations this year, China and Japan dominated demand from the region.

The Chinese Bureau of Energy recently announced an aggressive target of 12 GW for 2014, with 8 GW to be installed on rooftops and 4 GW of ground-mounted plants. New investments also continue to drive the Japanese market following the country’s 230% annual growth in 2013, which will boost the pipeline of solar PV projects in Japan above 20 GW.

NPD Solarbuzz predicts that Thailand will become the next major solar PV country in the APAC region in 2014, having increased its target for renewable energy contributions to 25% by 2021. The country’s National Energy Policy committee has proposed 800 MW of community-based solar PV capacity, with an additional 200 MW to come from solar rooftops.

"Despite efforts in China to increase the solar PV capacity located on rooftops through distributed generation, more than 50% of solar PV capacity installed across the APAC region during 2014 will come from ground-mounted projects, with less than a quarter of new PV capacity derived from residential and small commercial rooftop segments," the report found.