China Engine" will boost global PV by 30%

Abstract On April 27th, the international consultancy IHS released the latest forecast of the global photovoltaic industry, including forecasts for global PV demand, PV inverters, energy storage and PV module supply. IHS predicts that global PV demand will increase by 30% in 2015 compared to 2014, reaching...
On April 27th, IHS, the international consultancy, released the latest forecasts for the global PV industry, including forecasts for global PV demand, PV inverters, energy storage and PV module supply. IHS predicts that global PV demand will increase by 30% in 2015 to 57 GW in 2015, which is 10 times the size of the PV industry 7 years ago.

China market may face risk of supply and demand balance

“In 2015, China will become the world's largest PV installation market and the core market for global PV demand growth for the third consecutive year,” said Ash Sharma, Senior Research Director of IHS Photovoltaics. Other markets where PV demand is growing rapidly include Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and India.

Ash Sharma also said that although China will become the world's largest PV demand market, it also faces the biggest risk of supply and demand balance in the PV industry. If China can complete more than 17 GW of photovoltaic installations in 2015, it will create a healthier operating environment for Chinese PV companies and return to a more reasonable profit margin.

PV inverter production will increase to 70 GW

IHS forecasts show that the PV inverter market is expected to resume growth in the future.

According to Cormac Gilligan, senior analyst of IHS PV inverters and system balances, sales of PV inverters will increase from $6.6 billion in 2014 to $7.5 billion in 2018, a growth rate of more than 10%.

“With the growing demand for photovoltaics in China, Japan and other emerging markets, global PV inverter production (calculated by AC grid connection) is expected to increase to around 70 GW in 2018. However, price pressures will remain. According to forecasts, the average global inverter price will be reduced by 9% per year, in 2013 it is 0.17 US dollars / watt, and will be reduced to 0.11 US dollars / watt by 2018," Cormac Gilligan said.

By 2018, three-phase low-power inverters below 36 kW will contribute 34% of the global inverter market. Cormac Gilligan said: "Low-power inverters are becoming more popular in the global business and utility sectors, especially in China, the US and other core markets."

Renewable energy will drive energy storage demand

It is understood that the number of new PV systems with energy storage systems will grow rapidly. Against the backdrop of stable national policies and declining battery prices, IHS is optimistic that the capacity of newly installed energy storage systems will reach 3.6 GW in 2018, 15 times that of the 2014 231 MW energy storage system.

“The growing demand for electricity and renewable energy will drive demand for energy storage,” said Isabella Ni, senior analyst for IHS energy storage and PV demand.

At present, the biggest obstacle to the large-scale development of energy storage systems is the high battery prices, but the cost of future energy storage systems is expected to drop significantly. It is expected that the price of lithium-ion batteries will drop by 40% in the next three years.

“Lithium-ion battery technology is the current mainstream technology and will account for most of the market share of the grid-connected PV energy storage market,” IsabellaNi said.

Crystal silicon PV module prices are falling slowly

The production capacity of global crystalline silicon PV modules will increase significantly in 2015 and is expected to reach 76.6 GW. At the same time, capacity utilization will increase as downstream demand increases. IHS predicts that the operating rate of crystalline silicon PV modules will increase to 72% in 2015.

IHS also predicts that the global average price of crystalline silicon PV modules will decline slightly by 5% in 2015 compared to 13% and 11%, respectively, in 2013 and 2014.

"The rising demand for downstream installations and the increase in manufacturers' operating rates will prevent the price of PV modules from continuing to fall in 2015," said Jessica Jin, senior analyst at IHS's PV supply chain.

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