engineers working on PV installations fueling global solar installation growth

A new report from IHS Inc. forecasts that global photovoltaic installations will exceed 40 GW for the first time in 2014. This dramatic spike in solar installation growth will generate more than $86 billion in revenue.

After a two-year slowdown, annual solar installations will reach 41 GW in 2014. IHS maintains its earlier prediction that installations in 2013 will total 35 GW.

The new report says that PV installations are set to rise by 17% in 2014 after dropping from 15% in 2012 to 13% in 2013. 2014 is predicted to bring the highest growth rate since the 35% increase in 2011. Market revenue in 2014 will fall just short of $89 billion, the all-time high record set in 2011.

“PV installations will accelerate in 2014, driven by low system prices, new markets in emerging regions, and the continued growth in major countries such as the United States, Japan, and China,” says Ash Sharma, senior research director for solar at IHS. “As the industry’s recovery accelerates and market revenue returns to near-record levels, solar manufacturers will leave behind the turmoil of recent years and enjoy improved business conditions.”

Government incentives continue to be cut in many markets, including all major global regions – Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and Asia. Despite this, all of these regions will expand their solar installations in 2014, IHS says. This solar installation growth signals a turning point for Europe. They suffered a dramatic decline in solar installations in 2012 and face another drop in 2013.

“While PV installations will continue to stagnate or fall in established European markets like Germany and Italy, rapid growth is forecast in emerging countries in the region, such as Turkey, Poland, Ukraine and Russia,” Sharma says. “The growth in the developing PV nations will more than offset the poor conditions in the large, well-established solar markets.”

Despite IHS forecasts that European installations will return to growth in 2014, Europe’s solar installation growth will continue to be outpaced by Asia and the Americas. Europe’s share is expected to fall to 29% next year, down from 57% in 2012. Meanwhile, Asia’s share will climb from 29% to 48%.

IHS predicts that the fourth quarter of this year will close with the highest number of quarterly installations in two years. The report forecasts that 9.8 GW of PV installations will be completed during the fourth quarter instead of the 8.5 GW in the second and third quarters and to 7 GW in the first quarter.

According to the IHS, the increased performance in the fourth quarter confirms the industry’s seasonal pattern of a solid finish every year. Incentive cuts at the end of each year drive the surge in installations in the fourth quarter—many rush to complete their solar projects while government subsidies are still in place.

Read more in Solar Industry Mag