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Global installed PV capacity to hit 310GW this year

Posted: 02 Mar 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IHS  photovoltaic  PV  installation  supply chain 

IHS Inc. forecast that by the end of 2016, cumulative global installed photovoltaic (PV) installations will exceed 310GW, compared to just 40GW at the end of 2010. The five countries accounting for 70 per cent of this capacity are China, the U.S., Japan, Germany and Italy. With annual installations stalling, Germany will fall from the second-largest installed base for PV to the fourth largest, leapfrogged by the U.S. and Japan, the market research firm stated.

"A continued stagnation of major European PV markets due to weaker financial incentives has caused PV additions in Europe to slow dramatically in recent years, but global demand remains strong," said Josefin Berg, senior analyst of solar demand for IHS Technology. "The supply chain continues to benefit from a period of relatively stable pricing, and there could be a new wave of capacity expansions."

During the closing months of 2015, the global PV industry continued to enjoy strong growth. While some regional markets present challenges to local suppliers, the current outlook for the global industry in 2016 remains positive. After growing 35 per cent in 2015, global PV installations are forecast to grow an additional 17 per cent in 2016, culminating in 21GW of PV to be installed worldwide in Q4.

Cumulative global PV installations

Figure 1: Despite the slow-down in European solar installations, IHS revealed that China, U.S. and Japan will keep the market robust as capacity expansions remain to be expected.

Global PV installed capacity is expected to increase by 69GW throughout 2016, compared to 59GW of annual installations in 2015. The U.S., India and China will grow by 5.6GW, 2.7GW and 0.9GW, respectively, together accounting for 9.3GW of the 10GW increase.

Continued strong solar PV demand will also support stable module pricing. Average PV module prices are expected to fall less than five per cent in 2016, which is the smallest YoY decline recorded by IHS. Generally, 2015 was a positive year for the PV module manufacturing industry, with industry average gross margins reaching 22 per cent. Largely due to declines in polysilicon prices and strong pricing in some markets, total gross profit from modules reached $8.5 billion in 2015, the highest level since 2011.

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