Deutsche Bank: Momentum continues in US solar market

Against the background of continuing improvements in the global demand and supply environment, Deutsche Bank (DB) is predicting ongoing growth in the U.S. market, driving by “very strong” market fundamentals.

A research note by DB’s Vishal Shah obtained by pv magazine reports that industry participants expect both the U.S. residential and commercial markets to grow more than 30% year-over-year in 2015, despite relative slowness in the third quarter of 2014.

The note does not mention impacts from the pending decline of the Investment Tax Credit at the end of 2016, but it does confirm very low prices for utility-scale solar. According to DB, power purchase agreements are being signed at “no higher than” US$0.069 per kWh, and some are as low as 4-5 cents.

DB also reports that PV module prices remain stable at $0.72 per watt in the United States. The company expects a “modest” increase in these prices in 2015, in part due to fewer available Chinese modules in this market.

And while the manufacturing picture in the United States is improving, the nation is still not a first choice. DB notes that some companies are exploring the United States as a potential location for module capacity expansions, but “most indicated that Asian countries were more likely sites”.

Perhaps the most interesting new for the United States in the research note is at the end. DB suggests that U.S. President Barack Obama’s November trip to China could yield a minimum price agreement to replace tariffs on Chinese modules, similar to the deal reached between the EU and China.

For now that remains a rumor, if a compelling one.