Top-10 solar market predictions for 2013 by IHS

December 20, 2012 // By Julien Happich
“The photovoltaic industry is in the midst of wrenching change—buffeted by government incentive cuts and nose-diving prices that has hurt solar suppliers worldwide, rocked by trade disputes among its major players, and hamstrung by a sputtering global economy,” said Ash Sharma, director, solar research at IHS.

“However, there are some bright spots ahead: Solar installations are on the rise, technology is becoming more efficient, and a weak EU market roiled by financial turmoil will be offset by an ascendant China and the United States.”

Below are the top 10 predictions for 2013 from the IHS solar research team.

1. The global PV market will achieve double-digit installation growth in 2013, but market revenue will fall to $75 billion. Industry revenues—measured as system prices multiplied by total gigawatts installed—peaked at $94 billion in 2011, but fell sharply to $77 billion in 2012. Revenue is projected to decline once again in 2013 to $75 billion, on the back of lower volume growth and continued system price declines, given that PV component prices continue to fall.

2. The solar module industry will consolidate further in 2013. As 2012 comes to a close, fewer than 150 companies will remain in the photovoltaic upstream value chain, down from more than 750 companies in 2010. Most of the consolidation will involve companies going out of business entirely. Many integrated players, particularly those based in China, will fold up shop in 2013. The large expense of building and then operating integrated facilities that are underutilized will be more than many can handle financially.

3. PV module prices will stabilize in 2H 2013 as oversupply eases. Despite a drastic decline in prices along the silicon supply chain since March 2011, solar prices will stabilize by mid-2013. Changes in market dynamics will help restore the global supply-demand balance.

4. Solar trade wars will rage on in 2013, yielding few winners. As of November 2012, there were six different solar trade cases proceeding involving China, Europe, the United States and India. This cycle of sanction and retaliation will not help solve the fundamental challenge of overcapacity plaguing the global PV industry.

5. South Africa and Romania will emerge as PV markets to watch in 2013. The