Global solar installations to top 100 GW despite U.S. slowdown, says EnergyTrend

Demand for PV in China has been far higher than previously expected, with the booming solar industry in China representing nearly half of the entire global market. Analysis by Rhea Tsao at EnergyTrend has demonstrated that the country’s cumulative grid connected system installation for Q1, Q2, and the first half of Q3 are estimated at around 39 GW.

EnergyTrend has also estimated that China’s distributed system installations will reach 22 GW this year; with the total installed capacity for 2017 expected to reach around 48 GW. Therefore, the analyst says, China’s cumulative installed solar capacity will hit 125.42 GW by the end of 2017.

With the thriving solar PV market in China, global PV demand is estimated at 100.4 GW this year, an unprecedented high, due to the rapid and sustained development of the market in China. The U.S. remains in second place with its annual demand reaching 12.5 GW for 2017, followed by strong market performance in India, which has overtaken the Japanese market to claim third place in global installation capacity for the year.

EnergyTrend’s data shows that China, the U.S., India and Japan represent 75% of the world’s entire solar installation capacity for the year.

“Going forward, the Chinese market during this year’s remaining four months will be influenced by the completion of projects related to the second phase of the Top Runner Program and the first phase of the PV Poverty Alleviation Project,” said Tsao.

“At the same time, the market is also being affected by rumours that the Chinese government will cut FIT rates for distributed PV systems at the start of 2018. This prospect will likely trigger another wave of urgency to complete installations in the short term.”

The U.S. solar market has undergone changes during 2017 in response to the extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes, a number that will continuously reduce until reaching 10% in 2022. The country’s annual PV demand is projected to fall by about 15% from the 2016 level.

Furthermore, the U.S market for 2018 is uncertain. The country’s International Trade Commission may affirm Suniva’s Section 201 petition, which GTM Research’s latest report predicts a 50% to 60% overall reduction to solar installations if trade action is taken, with the utility-scale sector taking the most significant hit.

As a result, annual PV demand in the U.S. for 2018 could range from a low of 5.5 GW to a high of around 10 GW.

Author: Frederic Brown