Several countries in the Sunbelt region have raised their respective renewable energy targets for the 2020~2030 period. Together, the targets of installed PV capacity of all Sunbelt countries are now over 400GW. Economic growth and adoption of carbon emission reduction policies are major factors that lead to increasing PV demand in Sunbelt countries.
“The gradual decline of prices for PV-generated electricity and new subsidy programs are building up huge potential demand in the emerging markets,” said Patrick Lin, an analyst at EnergyTrend, a division of TrendForce. Several of these countries are expected to become mature PV markets during the 2016~2020 period.
“We can expect the global PV market to expand from this year to 2020,” noted Lin. “Following the demand growth in Japan, the U.S. and India, the worldwide demand for utility-scale PV systems will continue to rise with the emerging markets becoming the main drivers.” PV system vendors prefer module products of consistent quality and in good supply. Furthermore, much of the module demand in India and the emerging markets is concentrated in the low-end segment. Thus, the future market trends will benefit major Chinese manufacturers such as Trina and Canadian Solar because they are vertically integrated to the system level and can ship modules in large batches.
PV-generated electricity has reached grid parity in 48% of the Sunbelt countries, while the levelized costs of PV electricity in 33% of the Sunbelt countries are in a range that could compete with the average retail electricity prices in the local markets. As for the remaining 19%, the costs of PV electricity are higher than the average retail prices in the local markets.
Some emerging markets in the grid parity and competition zones were already seeing significant growth in installed capacity in 2015. These countries included India, Thailand, the Philippines and Chile. Lin added that while a few countries belonging to the grid parity zone do not have a feed-in tariff (FiT) program in place, the falling installed costs of PV systems is driving in the installation in these countries. Additionally, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) has committed to invest US$1 trillion for renewable energy initiatives in member countries that are located in the tropical region. The next group of PV markets that will advance from the emerging to the mature phase during the 2016~2020 period includes Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Turkey, Tunisia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam and the UAE.