According to a forecast by Bernreuter Research, the global amount of newly installed PV capacity in 2017 may well reach nearly 100 GW. Meanwhile, the polysilicon price is expected to sink, which may fuel further growth.
Bernreuter Research is a German research center specialized in comprehensive global polysilicon market reports. The firm has recently released a forecast for 2017, which expects the amount of newly installed PV capacity worldwide to rise to as much as 100 GW.
95 to 97 GW – or even more – of newly installed PV capacity expected
Bernreuter Research expect 95 to 97 GW of PV installations worldwide in 2017. This is the result of an estimated 100 GW of crystalline solar cells plus 5 GW of thin-film modules. The forecast takes into account production and shipment time lags, inventories in the value chain and the fact that various GW of solar module shipments to the U.S. were temporarily stalled. Their installation has been postponed to 2018 to avoid tariffs that were brought up as a result of a trade case by Suniva and SolarWorld Americas.
Various factors favour PV growth
The analyst company’s head, Johannes Bernreuter, named various reasons that favour this growth. First and foremost, different technologies in the production process have helped reduce the polysilicon consumption. “As sawing solar wafers with diamond wire instead of using slurry is reducing the specific silicon consumption more and more, polysilicon supply will be sufficient to produce 100 GW of crystalline solar cells without overly depleting inventories,” he said. For 2017, Bernreuter Research expects a global polysilicon output of 460,000 to 465,000 metric tons (MT). This includes 30,000 MT of electronic-grade material for the semiconductor industry.
The popularity of PV is also fueled by the expected price drop for polysilicon. According to Bernreuter Research’s predictions, the polysilicon spot price may fall from the current figure, around 16.60 US$/kg, to around 14 to 15 US$/kg. The only obstacle could come from China, who may increase the duties for polysilicon imports from South Korea and thus bring prices up.
Apart from the supply-related factors, Bernreuter Research has analyzed other possible influences on a solar growth as well. Based upon the aggregate shipment guidance of the four major global suppliers, Jinko, Canadian Solar, JA Solar and Hanwha Q Cells, a rising demand for solar can be seen. What is more, a bottom-up evaluation of the PV demand in 85 countries also resulted in an estimated 96.5 GW of new PV for 2017 – 30% more than last year, where only 74 GW were installed worldwide.
Strong growth in China hinders other countries’ success
The installation boom in China is the main reason for this largely unexpected global growth of the PV market. In the first 3 quarters of 2017 alone, a remarkable 42 GW of new capacity were installed in China, and it is expected to rise to up to 52 GW by the end of the year.
In the meantime, this makes things harder for other countries. India, for example, feels the negative effect of the Chinese boom as its own solar growth is hindered by high module prices and canceled module shipments from China.
Title image: apiguide/Shutterstock