A strong Q4 will see the solar industry continue to grow strongly in 2014. IHS figures released today show that 32% of annual installations will occur in the quarter, totaling 14.4 GW.
NPD Solarbuzz also forecasts a strong Q4, however it’s considerably more bullish, expecting 19.5 GW of solar to be added giving an annual figure of close to 50 GW.
The IHS analysis shows the U.S. and Chinese PV markets continue to drive global PV demand, with the countries installing 2.3 GW and 5 GW of solar respectively in Q4 accounting for 50% of installations in the quarter.
U.S. installations have been ramping up throughout the year with 33% of the annual figure coming in Q4.
The utility scale sector continues to dominate the Chinese market, with 8.5 GW in 2014, while the rooftop market continues to fail to meet government expectations. IHS believes that the official, revised, target of 13 GW will be met by years end.
The relatively slow start to 2014 was attributed to declines in Europe, reports IHS, despite strong results from the UK and Japan. The decline of the German and Italian PV markets continued, with installations dropping 1.2 GW and 900 MW respectively. Germany will install 2.1 GW in 2014 and Italy 0.8 GW.
The UK shines
In a result that few would have imagined only two years ago, the United Kingdom has registered the strongest growth in 2014. With between 3.0 GW to 3.2 GW expected for the year, the UK will be the fourth largest market, behind China, Japan and the U.S. In a pattern that is familiar to the solar industry, the rush to complete installations before the ROC subsidy scheme is wound up will see 3.1 GW installed in the country in Q4 2014 and Q1 2015.
Looking to 2016, IHS expects global market growth to slow to 16% in 2015, resulting in a market of 53 GW. Growth in China is forecast to slow to 10% in the year. 2014 will be the peak year for Japan, with 9.1 GW installed, before declining in 2015.
In December 2013 IHS had forecast 40-45 GW of installations for the year, but later revised this upwards to 47 GW.
IHS full report is the Q3 2014 PV Demand Market Tracker.