Big picture: 318GW of solar modules to be installed in next 5 years says IHS

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According to market research firm IHS global cumulative solar PV installations will reach almost 500GW (498GW) in 2019, up from around 180GW in 2014, a 177% increase.

The big picture forecast suggests around 318GW of solar modules are to be installed in next 5 years, up from around 180GW at the end of 2014, generating average annual installations of nearly 64GW. 

Calculating the linear growth rate from the IHS projection, annual global PV installations would need to average around 48% over the next five years, taking estimated PV installations of 45GW for 2014. 

Based on findings of the latest IHS Marketbuzz report, global solar demand is expected to reach 75GW in 2019, 66% higher than in 2014.

“In the five years between 2015 and 2019, IHS expects that 11 global markets will exceed the average annual demand level of 1 gigawatt,” said Susanne von Aichberger, solar industry analyst for IHS Technology.  “This large number of country markets reduces the risk of another explosion in the global PV market and of an overly strong capacity build-up. An increasing number of markets are entering the post-feed-in-tariff phase and embracing the integration of PV into the electricity market, which will help the market to avoid boom-and-bust situations.”

PV module and ASP trends

According to IHS, average selling prices (ASPs) of mainstream c-Si modules are forecast to decline by 27% between 2015 and 2019, reaching US$0.45/W. This excludes high-efficiency mono c-Si modules. 

Crystalline silicon modules are also expected to remain the dominant technology with the thin-film share expected to decline from 8% in 2014 to 7% in 2015, compared to 15% market share in 2010. 

CdTe and CIGS thin-film technologies are expected to dominate with a-Si projected to fall to less than half of its 2014 level by 2019, which was not significant even last year. 

This would suggest that IHS is not expecting gigawatts of a-Si module installations, despite gigawatts of manufacturing capacity already installed by Hanergy Group in China. 

“Last year, the market began to shift toward a more supply-driven market, characterized by high utilization rates, following the more demand-driven market that led to PV manufacturing consolidation,” added von Aichberger. “This trend is expected to continue through to 2019, when the utilization rate at module production is projected exceed the peak utilization rate reached in 2010, when the global market experienced explosive growth.”

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