Although Germany hits record in renewables, it is no longer the world leader when it comes to solar installation. And although China has made great strides, trade disputes with the EU and USA could change the international situation. These are just some of the findings of a new report from the American Lux Research which predicts that the solar industry will grow by 75% until 2019.
“Solar PV is already a common technology in most of the world, because it has reaped the fruits of direct incentives, but now it faces the uncertainty due to the pressure on trade with China,” said Matthew Feinstein Senior Analyst Lux Research and lead author of the report entitled “Solar Market Size Update 2014: Reform for the Long Haul”
Photovoltaics in the USA and EU
The Chinese solar modules have been impacted by heavy tariffs imposed by the United States and Europe. Vendors like Trina, Yingli, Canadian Solar and Hanwha SolarOneuse Taiwan to evade restrictions on photovoltaic cells supply, but US pro- tariffs groups are seeking to also paralyze that alternative path. And in Europe, complaints against Chinese manufacturers that allegedly violate trade agreements, which has led to a harsh anti-dumping regulation, are being investigated.
There are also other factors that limit growth in the USA, according to international consultancy Lux Research. Tax incentives for investment will be reduced from 30% to 10% from 2016. Nevertheless, the company predicts that America will continue to lead the continent by reaching 11.7 GWp with its new facilities in 2019.
Feinstein says that Canada will take a back seat in this growth and remain below 1 Gwp per year throughout the coming decade. “Adding the strict state restrictions of the country to the narrow interconnection existing in the country, many major suppliers have withdrawn their investments in Canada,” he concludes.
Regarding Europe, the solar industry is declining. Despite its impressive production records, facilities in Germany grow half they did two years ago. “Now the committed is for storage, solar farms are including batteries, which are being implemented by necessity. But this sector is not receiving any type of aid to reduce the cost of batteries.”
Italy, another sun star in the continent is also slowing down, however Lux Research notes that growth in France and the UK could offset these losses in the long run.
The solar industry in the rest of the world
Meanwhile, China also announced their own anti-dumping laws against foreign suppliers of polysilicon in the summer of 2013, and recently closed on other supply routes. And the pace of solar installations in Chinese households is such that the country is set to reach a cumulative capacity of 70 GWp in late 2017.
The Asia Pacific region is expected to lead in terms of expansion, throughout this period, because more than 50% of the demand will proceed thereof.
Annual installations for this region in 2019 are projected to 16 GWp in China, 12 GWp in Japan, 3.5 GWp in India and 1.7 GWp in Thailand.
All countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran seem to have joined a race to see who adopts solar first and South America will increase 10-fold its capacity to reach 2.5 GWp in 2019.
General industry trends
Cost reduction which will allow sustained growth of the industry will continue, efficiency of technologies such as PERC, HIT cells or their manufacturing with selective emitter (SE) will gradually increase. Process costs will decrease between 0.28 € / Wp for utility-scale and 0.46 € / Wp for residential use in 2019, ie a 20%reduction in the overall system costs.
X-Si will be the technology of choice. The crystalline silicon (x-Si) will rule the solar market up to 2019 although other modules technologies such as CIGS, the CZTS, the CdTe and the thin, flexible, epitaxial silicon (epi-Si) have the potential to become major threats in the future. X-Si, with a market share of 84.6%, will increase from 31.6 GWp in 2013 to 55.7 GWp in 2019, at an annual rate of 8.45%. CdTe and CIGS will be at a distant second place, with growth of 4.8 GWp and 4.2 GWp respectively in 2019.
Ultimately, in 2013, 2037.5 GWp of solar energy were installed in the world and Lux Research predicts that it will continue to increase at a rate of 8.3% annually, reaching 65.6 GWp in 2019 suggesting that the increase of 75% is feasible.