Market research firm IHS has predicted that the number of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations worldwide will rise at the fastest rate in three years in 2014, marking the end of a two-year slowdown for the industry.  

According to the latest ‘PV Demand Tracker’ quarterly report from IHS, installations will rise at the rate of 18% during 2014 to hit 41GW. IHS forecast that all major world regions will expand their solar installations next year.

In January of this year IHS predicted that 35GW of PV will be installed globally during 2013, an increase of only 3GW from 2012. The latest report reaffirms that forecast.

IHS senior research director Ash Sharma explained that during 2013, established markets in Europe were expected to continue the year-on-year slowdown begun in 2012, when the number of new installations dropped sharply.

However, Sharma expects that emerging markets around the world, including less established European territories such as Turkey, Poland, Ukraine and Russia will see a high rate of growth. In the case of Europe, Sharma believes that growth rates “…in developing PV nations will more than offset the poor conditions in the large, well-established solar markets".

Next year, European installations will return to growth, although Europe’s proportion as a global share of total installations is likely to decrease due to the rapidly increasing installation rates in Asia and the Americas that IHS has predicted. IHS asserts that Europe’s share, which was 57% of the global total in 2012, will fall to 29% in 2014, while Asia’s share of the total will jump from 29% in 2012 to 48% next year.

IHS broke the predicted figures down to quarters – the final quarter of this year will see the highest installation figures for two years, around 9.8GW of installations, in contrast to 8.5GW in the second and third quarters and 7GW in Q1 2013.  

A few days ago Deutsche Bank research analyst Vishal Shah predicted that 2013 installations worldwide would be slightly higher than the IHS prediction, with Deutsche Bank expecting the total to reach 38GW. A recently released forecast by clean energy consultancy Mercom Capital also backed-up this figure.

However, Shah at Deutsche Bank also added the caveat that if installations hit as high a figure as 50GW next year, one likely consequence would be a global shortfall of polysilicon supply.