China and the United States are projected to grow steadily over the long term as solar markets. These countries are aggressively expanding their distributed generation, according to a report.
Global solar installations are forecast to be in the 43 GW (43,000 MW) range in 2014, according to a report. With China revising its solar installation goals to 12 GW in 2014 and 35 GW by 2015, actual installations are expected to touch roughly 10.5 GW in 2014. The update noted that all signals coming from China so far have been positive for the solar industry. Support for solar seems to be getting stronger by the day and backed up by solid goals, policies, tariffs, standards and environmental regulations.
The underlying reasons for Chinese support of domestic solar installations are also strong rapidly deteriorating air quality and saving jobs. Though the solar forecast may deviate up or down based on Chinese installations, it is not a matter of whether installation goals will be met, but when, added Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm that has published the report. China is also putting policies in place to aggressively expand distributed generation.
Prabhu commented that market conditions are as stable as they can be in the historically volatile solar industry. Helped by strong demand, the module oversupply situation has improved. Prices are stable, and manufacturers are reporting shipment growth and ramping up capacity.
The United States is another top solar market forecast to grow steadily over the long term. Mercom forecasts US installations to reach approximately 6 GW in 2014, as its solar market continues on a course of strong, steady growth even without a national feed-in-tariff (FiT). Utility-scale projects and distributed generation through third party-financed residential installations have been the catalysts of growth. Third party-owned (solar lease) residential installations have been garnering most of the headlines over the last 12 months, raising over $3 billion in solar lease funds so far this year to finance installations. Though forecast to be the second largest market in 2014 with 7 GW installed, there are some mixed signals coming out of Japan.
The Japanese government is investigating the large gap between projects approved under the generous FiT scheme and actual installations. While India´s installed PV capacity has been variously quoted, the Mercom report says installations did not match goals, and current cumulative solar installations in India now stand at 1,761 MW with about 557 MW installed so far in 2013. The World Bank has recently shown keenness to help finance solar installations in India.