India to be a bright spot for global solar markets
India may be a bright spot for global solar markets this year as it adds capacity at a record pace, becoming one of the top regions for panel producers struggling with rock-bottom prices.
India is expected to add nearly twice as much new solar as last year, outpacing once-booming Japan, according to forecasts by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). China, the world’s largest renewables market, will see solar growth dip by about a fifth after peaking in 2016, London-based BNEF predicts.
India pipped Japan to become the top importer of solar cells and modules from China for three out of 10 months last year and the trend will continue in 2017, according to Xiaoting Wang, a Hong Kong-based solar analyst at BNEF.
“India will account for 10 to 13% of global new build in the next couple of years, and its market fluctuation will have an important impact on the short-term supply-demand relationship and therefore the pricing environment,” Wang said.
India and Latin America are among key growth markets for solar panels, Trina Solar chief executive officer Gao Jifan said in an interview this week at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
The world’s second-most populous nation is likely to add about 8.9 gigawatts of new solar in 2017, nearly twice the 4.5 gigawatts last year, according to BNEF’s most conservative estimate. Japan’s new solar capacity may drop to about 6 gigawatts from 8.9 gigawatts in 2016, while China is estimated to fall to about 21.6 gigawatts from about 26.5 gigawatts last year.
According to BNEF chairman Michael Liebreich, one of the “less welcome” developments of 2016 was that wind and solar investment fell from their peaks in both China and Japan.
“This came as a major jolt to the sector, after many years of seemingly inexorable growth,” Liebreich said in his yearly review for 2016.