For the Asia Pacific region, 2011 was a good year for photovoltaic installations and growth, with the region as a whole growing the photovoltaic market by 165% year over year, with an additional 40% expected to be added in 2012.
These figures—and the many more to follow—are courtesy of the latest NPD Solarbuzzreport.
The Dominant Chinese
Of all the Asia Pacific nations, China emerged from 2011 as the dominant force in the region, growing by 500% over 2010 levels, with 48% of demand in 2011.
A planned year-end 13% feed-in tariff (FIT) reduction led to a surge in fourth quarter (2011) installations, pushing the figure up to a total of 1.7 gigawatts.
The China PV market was reshaped in 2011 by the release of the national FIT, said, an analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. Approximately 1GW ground mount projects were installed in the Qinghai province alone. However, the explosive growth could well be followed by policy adjustments in 2012 as the Chinese central government takes action to control the growth rate.
30% Growth in Japan with Hopeful 2012
Japan was the second-largest regional market in the region, with fourth quarter installations up slightly from 2011 third-quarter figures. Year over year, the Japanese market was up 30% in 2011, reaching a total of 1.2 gigawatts, with an additional 40% expected during 2012.
Strong India Despite Delays
Quarter four saw Indian installations surge by 125% as the project developers strove to meet the installation deadlines. There are still delays on many of the projects, but estimates suggest that quarter one of 2012 could see more than 600 megawatts connected to the grid under the .
Projects under the Gujarat Solar Policy were granted an additional one-month extension, and estimates suggest that the Indian market could near 1 gigawatt of installed power in 2012.
“While rapid PV price declines have greatly improved project economics over the course of 2011, many Indian developers have suffered setbacks due to difficulties associated with financial closure, land acquisition, and power evacuation facilities. Now developers will need to race to meet their installation deadlines or face the prospect of losing their PPAs, leading to a surge of activity in December and January,” added NPD Solarbuzz analystChris Sunsong.
Australia Slumps as Incentives are Reduced
Unlike the other three major markets, Australia is trending down with PV installations falling by 10% quarter over quarter. Even worse is that installations in the first quarter of 2012 are expected to decline another 20% as a result of the termination and reduction of a variety of incentive policies during the first half of 2011. The 2012 fiscal year market is expected to fall by 30%.
However, there is hope, as the market is expected to pick up in 2013 as large-scale ground-mounted systems begin to come online across the country.