GTM Research: 59 GW of solar installed in 2015, 64 GW coming in 2016

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Today GTM Research became the latest organization to provide numbers for the global solar market in 2015, joining estimates released by Mercom Capital and PV Market Alliance. The company’s preliminary estimates put the global solar PV market at 34% growth during the year to 59 GW, an estimate slightly higher than Mercom’s (58 GW) and much higher than PV Market Alliance (at least 51 GW).

In 2016 GTM Research expects this growth to slow significantly to only 64 MW, citing reduced feed-in tariffs in China, Japan and the UK. This estimate is within 1 MW of Mercom Capital’s forecast, showing a high degree of consensus between analysts. This would bring cumulative installed PV to 321 MW.

Below these top-line numbers are significant changes. The company expects the United States market to grow 80% to 13.4 GW, before a slight drop in 2017. GTM Research expects the U.S. Investment Tax Credit (ITC) extension in December to have a huge impact, with the U.S. share of global PV demand growing 10-15% to 2020 due to the policy.

Anticipated market growth in India is even more dramatic. GTM Research expects India’s solar market to double this year from around 2 GW to 4 GW, which GTM Research Senior Analyst of Global Solar Markets notes is a conservative estimate. In the process, India is expected to move from the 5th to the 4th-largest solar market in the world.

This 4 GW is still far less than the 12 GW that PM Narendra Modi predicted would be installed in 2016 at the COP21 conference in Paris. GTM Research Senior Analyst of Global Solar Markets Mohit Anand notes that such announcements need to be considered in context. “Goals, in the context of India, and in the larger context of emerging markets, have to be seen as symbols of ambition and commitment,” Anand told pv magazine.

“All of this is very central government-driven,” explains Anand. “A big part of that ambition has to play out at the state government level, and that’s where the complication arises.”

The German PV market is expected to experience a modest rebound this year after three years of collapse, growing to 2 GW. Another 2 GW is expected in Latin America, however here that represents essentially flat growth.

Anand also says that despite warnings that tightness in the multicrystalline silicon wafer market will persist, he does not expect any supply shortage for solar PV modules this year.