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Challenging situation for global photovoltaic market expected in 2017

With a new record in PV installations of 76.4 GW in 2016, the forecast given by EuPD Research was merely exceeded by 5 GW. For the current year 2017, EuPD Research anticipates challenging framework conditions and a decline in new installations to 69 GW.

The year 2016 ended with a new record for the global photovoltaic industry. As the analysis of the German based market and economic research company EuPD Research shows, the worldwide PV installations add up to a total of 76.4 GW. With about 34 GW of newly installed PV systems in 2016, China dominated the global PV market like no other nation. The USA and Japan, as well as India, follow China as the largest PV sales markets in 2016.

China’s dominance as the largest sales market for PV systems world-wide is also the main problem in 2017 and will be for the coming years. At the end of last year, a reduction of about 105 GW cumulated PV installations in China until 2020 was pronounced. Based on that, a decrease of new global PV installations in 2017 is most likely. Analyses of EuPD Research expect a significant reduction of newly installed PV systems of around 10 to 12 GW in 2017. “On a global level, a further competitive nation would be required in order to compensate such a sharp decrease in PV installations. However, none of the markets currently show the potential to compete with China. With regard to that, we forecast global PV installations of just around 69 GW in 2017.” Markus Hoehner, CEO of EuPD Research, sums up.  

Besides China, the USA, Japan and India will be the largest sales markets for photovoltaics in 2017. With a market forecast of 7 to 8 GW, the European nations will account for around one tenth of the global PV installations. Although single nations such as Germany show a slight upward trend of new installations, it doesn’t play a significant role on a global scale. Other regions, such as the MENA region, show high potential for PV installations. Against the background of low module prices in 2017, many of the already announced PV projects are going to be realized in 2017.

Based on the enormous amount of installations over the last 3 years, China now faces problems, which are already known in old established PV markets such as Germany or Italy. New PV installations must be integrated into the existing electricity grid. High amounts of electricity from fluctuating energy sources, such as wind or solar power, make adjustments in the energy market necessary.

All in all, a decrease of global PV sales numbers in 2017 means an increased pressure on manufacturers and thereby on PV system prices. Manufacturers face the challenge of identifying new sales markets, understanding local business models and establishing sales channels.     


EuPD Research Sustainable Management GmbH 2017

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