The new research findings are featured in the NPD Solarbuzz Asia Pacific Major PV Markets Quarterly.
While major European markets have historically fueled strong year-end PV demand, Q4’12 will represent a transition phase within the PV industry, as demand becomes increasingly global and further diversified across new and emerging PV regions.
Wolfgang Schlichting, Research Director at NPD Solarbuzz, said: “Strong growth in APAC and other emerging PV markets is providing new impetus for companies active within downstream PV segments. However, in established PV markets, the short-term business environment will remain challenging for the remainder of 2012, with continued reductions in incentive policies and uncertainties due to the ongoing trade disputes.”
Figure 1: Shift in Q4’12 Demand from Major European Markets to the APAC Region
Source: NPD Solarbuzz European PV Markets Quarterly and Asia Pacific Major PV Markets Quarterly Asia Pacific Demand to Peak in Q4’12
Growth across APAC has already provided a significant boost to overall Q2’12 demand. The region showed more than 60% Y/Y growth, reaching 1.4 GW and compensating for the softening in demand across established markets. In particular, PV market demand in China grew by over 300% in Q2’12 to reach 0.6 GW, stimulated by deadline requirements for the completion of Golden Sun PV projects.
Another APAC country providing new downstream opportunities is Japan. Combined with the year-end projects planned within China and India, the new Japanese Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program is now setting up Q4’12 as a quarter of potentially massive PV demand pull across the APAC region. Over 50% (or 5.3 GW) of calendar-year 2012 APAC demand is forecast to occur in Q4’12.
However, this boom at year-end in APAC provides both challenges and risks for module suppliers, balance-of-systems providers, and project developers. PV demand within many APAC regions continues to be characterized by highly-competitive pricing with low-margin returns. In addition, any delays in project financing could lead to oversupply at year-end ahead of a