Asia-Pacific top 5 to dominate solar's second half

A late utility-scale surge from China is set to strengthen the leading position of the Asia-Pacific region in driving global PV demand, although Australia's contribution will dip.

Solarbuzz

The total solar photovoltaic demand from the five leading Asia Pacific markets – China, Japan, India, Australia and Thailand – is forecast to reach 17.2 GW during the second half of 2014, almost 60 per cent of global solar PV demand, according to findings in the latest NPD Solarbuzz Asia Pacific Major PV Markets Quarterly report.

While solar power has been growing across the Asia Pacific region, 95 per cent of the demand in 2014 is coming from the top five countries.

"China, Japan, India, Australia, and Thailand are forecast to rank in the top 10 global PV markets. China and Japan are dominating demand, with about half of all new PV capacity added this year," NPD Solarbuzz senior analyst Ray Lian said.

Seasonally strong demand from China is responsible for the majority of share gains in the Asia Pacific region during the second half. About 80 per cent of PV demand in China is forecast to come from ground-mounted projects; however, the commercial rooftop market segment is experiencing slower growth than the Chinese government had hoped for. The National Energy Administration has recently announced new policies to support development of distributed generation PV projects, especially rooftop projects.

Within Japan, the pipeline of approved PV projects stands at 59 GW; however, actual demand from Japan is forecast to exceed 5 GW in 2H’14, due to a range of factors including qualified land resources, financing, and grid connectivity.

“Falling PV system costs, together with high feed-in tariff rates, continue to provide attractive PV project economics within the Japanese PV market,” according to Holly Hu, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.

“While the Japanese government reviews the progress of the approved project pipeline, PV installations will continue to accelerate quickly, during the next few quarters.”

India, Australia, and Thailand are experiencing greater challenges.

“The Indian government recently opened the bidding process for PV projects, under the country’s National Solar Mission Phase II Batch II; however, policy uncertainties have delayed solar PV demand in India for the past six months,” Hu said.

“On a positive note, the Indian government recently avoided potential problems that may have arisen if anti-dumping duties had been imposed on imported Chinese silicon-based PV modules.”

Figure: Solar PV demand forecast for the Asia Pacific region

Source: NPD Solarbuzz Asia Pacific Major PV Markets Quarterly report

Annual demand from Australia and Thailand is forecast to decline in 2014, due in part to pending renewable-energy policy changes and investor uncertainty; however, a year-end boost is expected in the large-scale ground-mount segment in Australia. Ground-mounted projects at Nyngan and Broken Hill in NSW, developed by AGL/First Solar, are expected to have a total nominal capacity of 155 megawatts of alternating current (MWAC).

Outside the major solar PV markets in the Asia Pacific region, more countries in Southeast Asia are starting to develop solar PV capabilities, including the Philippines and Indonesia. In Pakistan, the first 100 MW phase of the 1 GW Quaid-e-Azam solar projects has also started installation.

Originally published by Solarbuzz. Reproduced with permission.