Asian demand leading world solar market

Asian demand leads world solar market

Asian demand leads world solar marketDemand for solar photovoltaic panels in the Asian Pacific is forecast to double in the second half of this year.

Combined, China and Japan are expected to have 9 gigawatts of solar demand in the second half of 2013, according to a report released today by NPD Solarbuzz, a market analysis firm. That’s twice the demand those two countries had in the first half of the year and up 70 percent year-over-year. The entire Asian Pacific market, which includes Australia and India, will demand more than 16 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic modules in the second half of this year, a 90 percent increase over demand in the region during the second half of 2012. Combined, the Asian markets will claim 40 percent of the world’s solar installations in the second half of 2013.

That’s good news for Chinese and other Asian market solar module manufacturers, according to the report. Despite strained trade agreements with Europe and the United States, manufacturers are showing dramatic signs of recovery.

“The record level of PV shipments to China and Japan coincides with corporate margins returning to positive territory and the final shakeout phase of uncompetitive manufacturers nearing completion,” according to Finlay Colville, vice president at NPD Solarbuzz. “Having entered 2013 with a highly cautious outlook, tier-one suppliers are poised to exit the year with restored confidence, ahead of optimistic shipment and margin guidance for 2014.”

Module manufacturers that were struggling through a period of oversupply are starting to see a dramatic shift and have even reported having difficulty keeping up with the fresh demand as there is less competition in the market now. That shift has been most notable in Japan, which led the world in solar adoption during the first half of this year.

The country’s aggressive replacement of nuclear power with renewable generation sources resulted in a 150 percent growth spurt so far in 2013. Japan already has 5 gigawatts of solar projects in the pipeline and expected to be developed before the end of the second quarter in 2014, according to NPD Solarbuzz.

Utility scale development is expected to lead demand in Japan during the second half of the year while distributed residential and commercial projects dominated the first half of the year.

China is expected to surpass Japan this year in demand for new solar and will likely see greater interest in distributed generation projects. However, the country is working to alleviate bottlenecks in project financing and permitting for larger scale projects that could result in great utility-scale solar development in China during the second half of the year.

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