Asia Pacific region to stimulate strong year-end surge in PV demand

August 28, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
PV demand from the Asia Pacific (APAC) region is forecast by market analyst NPD Solarbuzz to grow by 80% Y/Y during 2H’12, driven by Q4’12 demand at the 5.3 GW level.

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