By Finlay Colville, Vice President, NPD Solarbuzz
Recently, PV demand forecasting has seen greater contributions from countries that had previously been lumped together in the rest-of-world (RoW) bucket – a category previously reserved for the collective PV demand from countries or regions outside of major (FiT-stimulated) European PV markets. Research has shown that PV adoption outside Europe will not simply increase overall PV demand levels, but will assist in smoothing out erratic demand cyclicality. At first glance, the increased gigawattage of demand being added from the RoW grouping provides an essential component in driving long-term industry growth scenarios. Non-European PV demand is forecast to increase from approximately 30% to 60% of global PV demand between 2011 and 2016. However, more tangible benefits of having an increased number of countries feeding into the global demand mix extend beyond just the significant ‘growth’ potential this situation offers to the PV supply chain. Of these various benefits, perhaps the one that will provide the greatest level of comfort to the PV supply chain will be a collective ‘smoothing’ effect in quarterly demand swings. This should have a positive effect on factory shipment schedules and hopefully provide an end to some of the boom-and-bust cycles that have negatively impacted the fortunes of the PV supply chain during 2010 and 2011.