The solar power industry and its associated technologies, including concentrated solar power (CSP), photovoltaic (PV), and concentrated photovoltaic (HCPV and LCPV), are going through a significant correction as a seven-year period of capacity building, aggressive pricing, and promises of grid parity, driven largely by feed-in tariffs, comes to an end. As the profitable feed-in-tariff incentives fade, and deals that rely on bidding processes such as tenders and power purchase agreements (PPAs) emerge, many solar industry participants are recognizing the need to develop new business models and markets.
The solar industry remains incentive-driven for 99% of its demand. Reliance on incentives to drive demand has led to specific behaviors, including frantic buying when prices are low and installing into any available market. Markets in both the industrialized world and in developing countries require financing mechanisms to ensure current and future market growth. In the developing world, unstable economies, poverty, and lack of credit (among other challenges) continue to dampen growth prospects. In industrialized countries, subsidies and incentives for the grid-connected application remain the primary drivers. Currently, the models for incentivizing solar in the industrialized world are changing and with these changes, more attention is being focused on the developing world as well as on the remote applications. Continued artificially low prices for PV technology and polysilicon have caused the collapse of several companies. Navigant anticipates that manufacturer failures will continue into 2013. Low bidding on projects continues, leading to the concern that many of these projects may not be sustainable. Low priced natural gas in the United States threatens the viability of many solar projects. Low quality in PV technology and solar installations will increasingly be an issue from mid-2012 on. Navigant forecasts that growth in 2012 will be between 24-GWp (4% over 2011) and 31-GWp (31% over 2011), with modest growth continuing over the forecast period.
This seventh annual Navigant Global Analysis report analyzes the global markets for solar products along with the economic and incentive drivers of growth. In addition, market forecasts are included for the major solar PV application segments through 2016, along with regional forecasts for PV through 2014, and forecasts for CPV and CSP through 2016 under reduced incentive, conservative, and aggressive scenarios.