Key solar PV market trends in 2015: IHS

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Market research firm IHS has detailed what it deems to be some of the key PV industry market trends in 2015. 

Other than providing a glimpse into its global PV installations forecast for the year, which includes growth of between 16 to 25% over 2014 to reach 53GW to 57GW in 2015, IHS noted and number of positive developments expected, despite what it sees as a very “fragile” industry recovery. 

“Through mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies, the supplier base consolidated further, as companies struggled with debt-laden balance sheets and a rapid shift in their customer base away from their traditional markets,” said Ash Sharma, senior research director for solar at IHS. “All signs point to a strengthening recovery of the solar industry in 2015, even if the recovery itself remains incredibly fragile.”

Other key trends from IHS for 2014 are as follows:

 1. Concentrated photovoltaic solar (CPV) market growth of 37% that equates to around 250MW of installations. Installations of both high-concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) and low-concentration photovoltaic (LCPV) systems will expand at double-digit percentages every year through 2020.

 2. China’s distributed PV (DPV) is expected to continue to be behind expectations, though installs are forecasted to reach 4.7GW in 2015, an increase of nearly 20% from 2014. 

3. Grid-connected PV energy storage paired with energy storage is expected to increase more than threefold, to reach 775MW of global installations in 2015. 

4. Chile will follow South Africa to reach 1GW of installed PV capacity, leading the emerging markets maturing. Rapid growth in new emerging markets in 2015 is expected to occur in Jordan, the Philippines and Honduras. However, uncertainty surrounds growth in Mexico, Brazil and Turkey.

5. Monocrystalline solar cell technology to increase market share to 27% of global solar cell production in 2015, up from 24% in 2014.

6. Small distributed PV (DPV) systems up to 100 kilowatts are expected to account for 30% of global installations in 2015, equating to 15.7GW, up from 13.2GW in 2014. Japan will be the largest DPV market in 2015, accounting for nearly 70% of installations. The US is expected to install more than 2.2GW of DPV in 2015. 

7. IHS expects a halt to large utility-scale projects in the UK starting in the second quarter of 2015, due to incentive changes. However, the UK is expected to be the largest such market in Europe with 1.4GW of ground-mount systems installations. 

8. Three-phase string inverters are expected to account for one-third of global solar inverter revenue of more than US$2.2 billion in 2013. Estimated shipments will exceed 15GW, up 31% from 2014. A surge is expected in important markets like China and Japan, whose combined shipments will account for 7.6GW of the total.

 9. California is expected to be the largest renewable power market in the US, with DPV accounting for more than 10% of California’s annual power generation in 2015. This penetration level would push California above other leading global solar markets, such as Germany and Italy, in terms of the share of total power generation sourced from solar PV.

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