PARIS – Solar companies face challenges to reduce their cost structures as photovoltaic installation volumes will be offset by decreasing revenues in 2013, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
Global photovoltaic installations are expected to represent 35 gigawatts (GW) in 2013, up from 32GW in 2012. However, the industry revenue will decline to about $75 billion in 2013 from $77 billion last year, said IHS.
In a recent whitepaper, titled The Global Solar Power Industry for 2013: Predictions and Prospects for the Year Ahead, Ash Sharma, director of syndicated solar research for IHS, commented: "While solar installations have grown every single year without fail since we started analyzing the industry in 2006 — and will continue to do so until at least 2017 — the picture is much more sobering when one looks at industry revenue, especially as PV component prices continue downward. And installation growth, although positive, is also slowing, further affecting the industry’s overall top line."
The solar industry is globalizing. In 2010, IHS said it observed that Europe represented 80 percent of solar demand in 2010. It accounted for 53 percent in 2012 and is expected to drop to 39 percent in 2013. In the meantime, Asia is gaining ground.
Germany, which has been the world’s top solar market for many years, will be dethroned by China and the United States. Japan and Italy will claim fourth and fifth places, respectively. IHS said the Top 5 represented about 75 percent of total solar demand in 2012 but will account for 65 percent in 2013. Midsized markets, such as South Africa and Romania, are predicted to expand their presence on the solar market despite installations of just a few hundred megawatts per year.
IHS concluded that it expects that solar industry revenue will experience double-digit growth from 2014 to 2016. Revenue will soar to $115 billion by 2016. See related links:
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