Rapid expansion of solar photovoltaic (PV) installation capacities coupled with increasing demand for renewable power sources has been responsible for solar panels market growth. Growing awareness for energy security and self-sufficiency along with favorable government legislations is expected to fuel solar panels market growth over the forecast period. Unilateral obligation of countries such as Germany, Italy, France, UK, U.S., China, Japan and India to the Kyoto Protocol, designated to reduce GHG emissions, is also expected to promote market growth. Government initiatives such as subsidies on PV systems and feed-in-tariffs coupled with capacity expansions in Asia Pacific and the U.S. are expected to drive solar panels demand over the next six years. This is further supported by soaring electricity tariff rates and declining manufacturing costs of PV systems on account of innovative technologies.
On the basis of technology, solar panels may be segmented into crystalline silicon systems and thin film cells. Crystalline silicon solar PV systems were the dominant technology in global solar panels market in 2013. Rise in Chinese manufacturers and technological advancements in the sector have been major factor for high crystalline silicon PV panel demand. Increasing requirements for high efficiency solar PV systems has led to the development of thin-film cells as they employ cadmium or glass substrates and have higher solar conversion efficiency at relatively lower costs as compared to their crystalline silicon counterparts. Improved efficiency along with other advantages over conventional solar panels are estimated to fuel market demand over the forecast period. On the basis of mounting systems, the market may be segmented into ground mounted, roof mounted, solar trackers and fixed racks solar PV systems. Increasing acreages of solar power plants and increasing off-grid installations of PV systems for commercial & residential purposes is expected to have a positive impact on market growth. Growing demand for solar driven vehicles and electrical appliances is also expected to drive market growth over the forecast period.
Europe was the largest regional solar panels market in 2013 and is estimated to continue its dominance over the forecast period. The region has witnessed a sharp decline in new installations especially in Germany and Italy owing to phasing out of subsidies and reduction in feed-in-tariffs. However, countries such as UK, Spain and Czech Republic possess high potential for market growth over next six years. In terms of cumulative installed capacity, Europe was followed by Asia Pacific. Solar panels market in the region is estimated to witness above average growth rates, with strong focus towards China. China recorded the largest number of PV installations in 2012. Majority of future demand for solar panels is anticipated to come from U.S., UK, China, India, Japan and Australia.
Global solar panels market is characterized by improving conversion efficiency by key market participants. Key companies operating in this market include Suntech, Sharp Solar, First Solar, Trina Solar, Yingli, Hanwha Solarone, Canadian Solar, SunPower, SolarWorld and Renewable Energy Corporation.
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