The global solar PV market is estimated to reach the capacity of 489.8 GW by 2020. The rising demand for electricity coupled with increasing consumer awareness concerning the benefits of renewable resources is anticipated to have a positive impact on the market growth.
A solar photovoltaic system generates electricity from sunlight with the help semiconductors. The electrons in these materials are freed by sunlight and can be induced through an electric circuit to generate electricity. The growth of solar PV technology is fastest as compared to other renewable energy sources owing to free availability of sunlight.
The attributes of solar PV system such as free, highly reliable and clean energy source is expected to have a positive impact on market growth. The cost of PV has reduced significantly owing to the technological advancement and experimentation with new materials.
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The regulations in regards to solar PV systems by various governments such as Feed-in Tariff (FIT) is anticipated to bolster its demand. The solar PV is estimated to reach levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of USD 0.06-0.13/kWh in the Sunbelt economies, rendering it economical as compared to oil or gas fuelled power plants.
The lack of competitive finances coupled with underdeveloped infrastructure and inexperienced management are likely to hamper the growth of solar PV. However, the ability of solar PV to be used in other power generation plants in hybrid systems is expected to drive market growth.
The new avenues opened in the Sunbelt economies including Latin America and Middle East is expected to increase the focus of energy generation by solar PV over the forecast period. Major players such as SunPower and First Solar are making arrangements to enter the emerging Chinese market.
The major applications of solar PV installations include utility, residential, and commercial/non-residential. The residential applications include roof top solar PV system together with the utilization of generated solar power through daily household operations. The commercial and non-residential application includes the installations in sunlight exposed areas, where the power generated is utilized as a supplement in off-peak hours. The application of solar PV in utility is to supply the generated solar power to the grid, to aid the transmission by conventional sources of power.
The utility application dominated the application segment accounting for over 45% of the global installed capacity. The application of solar PV in the utility sector is expected to witness the fastest growth at a CAGR of over 21%, owing to the competitive prices of solar modules for power generation coupled with increasing need for energy.
The residential application segment for solar PV installations accounted for over 25% of the global installed capacity. This segment is estimated to witness sluggish growth as compared to its rapidly growing counterpart. However, constant demand from the residential sector with no power supply from the grid is expected to complement market growth. The new townships are installing solar PV systems on account of its high power stability and low costs.
The utilization of solar PV systems for commercial application is also expected to show substantial growth with major Sunbelt economies looking to harness the potential of solar energy and employ it as a substitute for conventional forms of energy. The segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20%, owing to the increasing cost of power in peak hours. The utilization of solar power by companies is to distribute the peak load among solar power and conventional grid supply, to reduce cost. The government policies for utilization of solar power boost the use of solar power in the commercial segment.
The utilization of solar PV in China is expected to witness the fastest growth at a CAGR of over 35%, owing to the supportive government regulations coupled with low raw material cost. In addition, high demand for electricity on account of rapid industrialization is expected to drive the demand for solar PV in the country. The high potential for solar PV in Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Latin America is expected to aid the market growth over the forecast period.
In 2012, Europe accounted for the largest market for solar PV systems with the major share of the cumulative installed capacity of over 70 GW as of 2012. The region accounted for over 70% of the global installed capacity majorly driven by installations in economies including Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and France. Germany accounted for the largest market in Europe with a cumulative capacity of around 32 GW in 2012 followed by Italy.
In terms of installed capacity, Asia Pacific was the second largest region with a cumulative capacity of over 12 GW. The key aspects for high installed capacity in the region include large solar PV installations in India, Japan, and Australia combined accounting for over 80% of the region’s installed capacity. These countries are utilizing a negligible segment of their vast potential and are expected to install significant capacities over the next few years.
North America was the third largest market with Canada developing with a constant growth with the U.S. The U.S. had an installed capacity of over 7 GW, which accounted for the third highest installation of the overall global capacity. Canada had an installed capacity of over 750 MW in 2012, which was a significant growth of 50% from 2011.
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The solar PV market is segmented as 50% being the top 15 players. The two largest companies First Solar (USA) and Yingli Green Energy (China) together accounting for over 10% of the share. The other key players in the market include Suntech Power, Trina Solar, SunPower, Sharp, and Canadian Solar among others.
Product differentiation and innovation have become highly important, and successful manufacturers have diversified at both upstream as well as downstream markets, with many projects expanding into project development or building strategic partnerships. The decrease in the price of PV modules is expected to lead to industry consolidation with major companies struggling to integrate across the value chain through acquisitions and mergers.
Solar PV End Use Outlook,
• Non Residential
Solar PV Regional Outlook,
• North America
• Latin America
• Asia Pacific
• Rest of the World
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