Analysis firm EnergyTrend has predicted that global market demand for photovoltaics (PV) will total around 42GW in 2014.

The company believes demand will fall between 40GW and 45GW. The latest report also asserts that the supply chain will see industrial concentration continue, with tier one manufacturers likely to once again surpass nameplate capacity. However EnergyTrend believes that of those tier one sales, 10% to 30% will go through second and third tier manufacturer Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). Supply from the top 15 module manufacturers will represent 65% of total demand worldwide. EnergyTrend forecasts that total utilisation rate will surpass 70% and states that if demand reaches 42GW, “supply chain outlook next year seems positive”.

Based on the 42GW forecast, EnergyTrend also believes that there will be changes in supply and demand, varying from region to region. Supply/demand equilibrium appears to have been reached in the Asia-Pacific markets; there will be supply shortage issues in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region; prices may fall in the US as manufacturers compete for market share with over 30% of US market share controlled by two manufacturers; the Chinese market will continue to be served predominantly by domestic suppliers while in Japan domestic manufacturers are expected to retain around 50% of market share.

EnergyTrend research manager Jason Huang claims that a demand of 42GW would indicate a growth of 17% from 2013 figures. Huang said China, the USA and Japan would remain the top three markets worldwide, and make up 50% of total demand between them. Huang also forecasts that the second half of 2014 will show stronger market demand than the first, in which he nonetheless expects demand to be strong. EnergyTrend predicts that after the first quarter of next year, demand will total around 40GW.

In 2013, the company states that global PV demand rose quarter-on-quarter with grid connected capacity reaching 31.5GW. Due to Chinese and Japanese orders being placed ahead of time, total demand for the year totalled a higher figure, 35.8GW, compared to EnergyTrend’s 2013 prediction of 33GW.

This year, the EMEA region accounted for 32% of demand, the USA 15% and Asia accounted for 53% of demand.

The company points to the falling rates of large-scale utility installations mainly due to subsidy cuts in various regions and states that if the market is to enjoy continual growth, the ability of self-consumption to pick up the slack in demand is “critical”. However, EnergyTrend believes that before self-consumption matures as a market, demand for large-scale installations is likely to diminish. Subsidy reductions in Europe and module tariff reductions in China are also likely to cause further shrinking of the large-scale market. The company also points to the Japanese market in 2013, where the number of orders placed was higher than the amount of grid connected installations and says that if demand falls after the first quarter of next year, demand will substantially decrease. 

Huang said: “It’s projected that industry adjustment will still be required in 2014 as manufacturers have clearer segmentation. Although market demand may not explode, there’s plenty of room for first-tier manufacturers to improve. Meanwhile, a variety of new PV product applications will appear in the markets.”

EnergyTrend also offered a forecast scenario of 50GW demand, although it stressed that this was an outside possibility.

The overall prediction made by EnergyTrend that while demand is likely be in the range of 40GW to 45GW, and most probably around 42GW, with an outside chance of a figure as high as 50GW, is roughly in line with predictions made by fellow analysis firm IHS, which recently predicted a global demand of between 40GW and 45GW. However another analyst firm, NPD Solarbuzz believes that in 2014, PV will be a 50GW global industry. IHS and NPD Solarbuzz have already clashed over their predictions for 2013 installs.

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