PV Revenue Growth in 2H’12 Stimulated by US and Asia Pacific Pipelines

Shift Towards Emerging PV Markets Outside Europe Highlights Importance of Diversified Downstream Strategies

Santa Clara, Calif., May 14, 2012—Solar photovoltaic (PV) demand during 2H’12 will see increasing contributions from emerging markets in North America and Asia Pacific, with 60% of PV demand coming from these non-European regions according to new research featured in the NPD Solarbuzz PV Market Quarterly reports.

This represents an important change for the PV industry, indicative of longer-term trends in which the share of global PV demand stimulated by European countries will decline. While 50% of global demand during 2H’11 came from Germany and Italy, 54% of demand in the final quarter of 2012 is forecast to come from China, India, Japan and the US.

According to Wolfgang Schlichting, Research Director for downstream PV markets at NPD Solarbuzz, “The expansion in global PV end-markets during 2H’12 requires new sales and marketing approaches to exploit the significant revenue opportunities in North America and Asia Pacific. Understanding the changing PV landscape across utility, ground-mount and leasing projects forces a shift in corporate strategies to more diversified downstream business operations.”

Figure 1: Quarterly PV Demand for Major PV Market Regions

Source: NPD Solarbuzz European PV Markets Quarterly, Asia Pacific Major PV Markets Quarterly, and North America PV Markets Quarterly 

Growth in Utility, Ground-Mount and Leasing Projects

During 2H’12, utility-scale projects will accelerate PV growth across North America and Asia Pacific, representing 57% of demand in those regions. To realize projects on-time and within budget, the role of project developers will become increasingly important, especially in accessing finance and coordinating necessary permits and EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) providers. Downstream companies that can provide monitoring, performance guarantees or project maintenance to ensure the quality of electricity delivered will also benefit from this segment growth.

Large ground-mount projects (>5 MW in capacity) across China and India are forecast to dominate Asia Pacific demand during 2H’12. Over 2.2 GW are expected to be completed in Q4'12, ahead of year-end policy expiration dates. The Japanese market was previously comprised of many small local PV installers serving the residential segment, but the introduction of the new FIT in July provides opportunities for system integrators and project developers who can design/engineer, construct, and/or finance large PV systems. Overseas companies that can bring cost-competitive products or services to large-scale systems will also benefit. PV demand in Japan during 2H’12 is forecast to exceed 1.1 GW, representing 74% growth compared to 2H’11.

The expiration of the federal cash grant is a big change to the US market in 2012. Q1’12 was still driven by projects that met the qualifications for the grant at the end of 2011. The most notable effect of the cash grant on downstream channels was the rise in residential PV leasing. Although the impact of the cash grant will decline, more than 60% of 2012 US demand will occur during 2H’12, driven by utility-scale projects towards RPS (renewable portfolios standard) compliance in California and other states, as well as residential lease expansions to the east coast.

European Opportunities Should Not Be Discounted

In 2012, major European markets continue to be impacted by severe tightening of incentive policies and financing restrictions. While the German market was impacted by drastic funding cuts in April, Italy is waiting for a new funding scheme (Conto Energia V) that could dramatically restrict the funding conditions in 2H’12. However, the German and Italian markets are likely to benefit strongly from advancement effects and transition phases.

The decline of the French market in 2H’12 will reflect funding restrictions implemented in 2011. Other markets that will see declines include Spain, Belgium and Bulgaria. Based on current incentive policies, the fastest growing smaller markets over the next 1-2 years will be Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Israel, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia. Also, the European market is starting to see more project development activity that does not depend on premium incentives or public funding.

Key European market segment changes from Q1’12 to Q2’12 include a rise in ground-mount share from 28% to 33%, residential share rising from 19% to 22%, and building-mount share declining from 53% to 44%. However, 2H’12 will be characterized by declines in the ground-mount sector due to the shift in policy focus, especially across more mature markets.

The NPD Solarbuzz PV Market Quarterly reports identify specific challenges and potential opportunities for companies that are currently active, seeking to enter, or required to understand global downstream PV channels and demand trends. The reports are strongly data-driven and feature comprehensive analyses of PV policies, distribution channels, investment returns and PV application segments. Dedicated reports are available for Europe, North America and Asia Pacific regions. Each report features extensive market analysis for major PV territories, complemented by key metrics relevant to the emerging growth regions.

For more information or to order the NPD Solarbuzz PV Market Quarterly reports, contact us at one of our seven global locations, email us at contact@solarbuzz.com, or call Charles Camaroto at 1.516.625.2452 for more information.

About NPD Solarbuzz
NPD Solarbuzz, part of The NPD Group, is a globally recognized market research business focused on solar energy and photovoltaic industries. Since 2001, NPD Solarbuzz has grown its client-base to include many of the largest global PV manufacturers, major investment banks, equipment manufacturers, materials suppliers, hedge fund companies, and a vast range of other multi-nationals. NPD Solarbuzz offers a wide array of reports, including Marketbuzz, an annual global PV industry report, and Solarbuzz Quarterly, which details both historical and forecast data on the global PV supply chain. The company’s research also provides annual downstream PV market reports by region for Europe, Asia Pacific and US markets. In addition, Solarbuzz.com is a recognized and respected online resource within the solar industry. For more information, visit www.solarbuzz.com or follow us on Twitter at @Solarbuzz.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 2,000 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food, home and office, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless. For more information, contact us or visit www.npd.com and www.npdgroupblog.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdtech and @npdgroup.

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