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PV demand in 2013 is expected to increase 7% year-on-year to approximately 31GW, according to the new NPD Solarbuzz Marketbuzz 2013 report.

The market research firm had previously said that PV demand in 2012 had reached 29GW.

For the first time, China is expected to become the largest market, surpassing Germany. Indeed, Asia is fast becoming the largest market, according to NPD Solarbuzz, which expects China, Japan, and India combined to account for 36% of global PV demand in 2013.

“2013 will represent another transition year, as the PV industry adjusts to softness across legacy European markets,” said Michael Barker, Senior Analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “The Chinese end market will largely compensate for the downturn in demand from Germany, which previously led PV demand.”

As European feed-in tariffs continue to decline, demand in Europe is expected to fall significantly in 2013. The market research firm projects a 26% year-on-year decline to approximately 12GW. IN 2012 European demand was 16.48GW, almost 60% of global demand, according to NPD Solarbuzz. 

However, the growth in demand from China, Japan and India is expected finally to match demand in Europe, growing over 50% in 2013, and account for more than 11GW of PV demand. In 2012, Asia was the second strongest market, generating 8.69GW of demand.

“In 2013, we expect to see improvement in the market fundamentals that enable PV demand to return to double-digit growth,” added Barker. “Installed-system prices will continue to fall, and PV will become increasingly cost competitive across regions with high electricity rates, shortages in domestic supply, and growing renewable obligations to fulfill.”

Ground mounted growth v residential

Due primarily to regional government incentives in key markets, ground mounted PV is expected to account for 45% of global installations, while the residential market is expected to retain around 20%.

The residential market is being actively supported in countries such as Japan, Germany, Australia, Italy and the UK, which are expected to account for three-quarters of all residential PV installations this year.

Overall, the top 10 PV territories are expected to account for 83% of global PV demand in 2013.


The market research firm warned that fragmentation of the supply chain for PV modules and balance-of-systems components is expected to continue across a range of addressable markets due to shifts in geographic access, new and ongoing import trade barriers and changes in PV application segments.

“Global trade wars and excessive local manufacturing capacity levels will create micro-environments for PV supply and demand, with each PV supplier serving only a subset of the 31GW demand total,” noted Barker.

In a new guest blog from Finlay Colville, Vice President of NPD Solarbuzz, Colville details the significant changes in regional markets as the micro-market phenomenon gains momentum.