China drives tenth year of solar PV growth

Strong demand from China will drive a tenth year of consecutive growth for the global solar PV market, according to a new report by consultants IHS Markit.

“The proposed Feed-in Tariff cuts announced in China since September have resulted in stronger than projected growth in the fourth quarter,” said Josefin Berg, senior analyst at IHS Technology.

“Therefore, we forecast annual installed capacity to be 77 GW in 2016, and 79 GW in 2017. This is a year-on-year growth rate of 34 per cent in 2016, which follows the 32 per cent year-on-year growth in 2015.”

Since the 2010-2011 period, global PV demand had not grown by more than 30 per cent for two years in a row, the IHS Technology report said.

However, IHS Markit forecasts that global demand will only grow by 3 per cent in 2017 due to the decline in PV installations in the two largest markets in 2016 – China and the US.

“There will be two years of single-digit growth before a stronger market recovery in 2019,” it predicts.

“Until China officially publishes the changes to the feed-in tarrif rates, and the timeframe for the reductions, the forecast for total installed capacity in 2017 and the quarterly distribution remain highly uncertain,” Berg said.

China has also lowered the 2020 minimum target for solar power from 150 GW to 110 GW. This reduced ambition reflects a projected decline in additions of Chinese additions in 2018, followed by relatively flat demand in subsequent years, enough for China to exceed its target and reach 169 GW of cumulative installed capacity in 2020.

Meanwhile, India ­ at a projected 10 GW of installations – is set to become the third largest PV market in 2017, overtaking Japan.

“The Indian solar market is rapidly maturing and it is benefiting from low system costs globally,” Berg said. India is currently the world’s fourth largest market with a projected annual demand of 5.8 GW. Japan is currently in third with 8.7 GW of newly installed capacity. 

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