Last week two reports came in looking at the solar demand in first quarter, both of which anticipated even higher demand for solar in 2014 than they previously did. In fact, NPD Solarbuzz now anticipates the global demand for new solar power will will exceed more than 50 gigawatts for the first time ever. IHS’ report anticipated that solar would reach 46 gigawatts in 2014, which is inline with some previous predictions.
“Every quarter in 2014 is forecast to reach new highs,” Solarbuzz said in its latest Solarbuzz Quarterly report. The first quarter alone already saw record demand, according to the company, with more than 9 gigawatts of new PV coming online in the first three months of the year. That’s 35 percent higher than first quarter record—which was set last year. “This is the fifth straight year that a quarterly record has been set at the start of the year,” said Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.
Based on its research the company now anticipates that 12-month trailing demand at the end of the first quarter of 2015 is expected to exceed 50 gigawatts. That’s largely because the first quarter provides a reasonable bellwether for the rest of the year in the solar industry, Barker said. “While demand during the first quarter typically sets the low point for the year, deployment levels during this quarter provide an excellent means of benchmarking demand for the rest of the coming year.”
The IHS report also upped its expectations for 2014 to 46 gigawatts based on new projections in China and Japan. “China’s recent announcement that it will shift its focus to ground-mount projects and increase its installation target for this segment to 6 GW has led us to raise our forecast for 2014,” said Ash Sharma, senior director of solar research at IHS. In Japan IHS anticipated that the commercial rooftops will account for about 60 percent of the anticipated 9 gigawatts of solar installed in Japan in 2014, which it said is 45 percent higher than the 6.3 gigawatts of solar installed in the segment in 2013.
The trend for the first quarter of the year generally accounts for up to 20 percent of annual demand in the solar panel market. During the first quarter of 2013 first quarter demand was at 7 gigawatts, while deployment for the full year reached 37 gigawatts, according to Solarbuzz’s Marketbuzz Report in March 2014. “Purely on a pro-rata basis, Q1’14 provides strong confidence that 2014 solar PV demand will indeed reach, and possibly even surpass, the NPD Solarbuzz full-year forecast of 49 GW in 2014,” Barker said.
Demand in the first quarter was strongest in Japan and the United Kingdom, according to Solarbuzz. The company said they accounted for more than one-third of the global demand in the first quarter.
At the same time the trailing 12-month demand is now likely at 40 gigawatts, according to Solarbuzz. Based on both these trends, the company anticipates that the demand will continue to grow breaking through the 50 gigawatts barrier in about a year’s time.Tweet