China, Africa, Latin America to lead solar photovoltaic market growth in 2013

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has stated that China, Africa and Latin America will drive solar photovoltaic (PV) industry growth in 2013, in CEO Michael Liebreich’s top 10 clean energy predictions for 2013.

BNEF also expects overall clean energy investment to recover to around 2011 levels of USD 302 billion.

Using a metaphor from Napoleon’s doomed invasion of Russia, Liebreich states that while the sector suffered a setback from entrenched fossil fuel interests in 2012, drivers for clean energy are “almost limitless”.

“The old reliance on a couple of big European markets will fade further in 2013, and I expect to see rapid growth in both large- and small-scale PV deployment in China, enabling it to overtake Germany as the largest solar market,” states Liebreich.

“Also on the up will be sub-Saharan Africa, one of the few regions not putting up trade barriers in the solar sector… We also expect to see action pick up in distributed solar-based systems, both in Africa and India. In South America, the fastest-moving countries will be those outside Brazil where policy mechanisms are evolving and sunshine is plentiful.”

Liebreich notes that solar technologies accounted for 53% of total clean energy investment in 2012 at USD 142 million, and expects it to achieve a similar share in 2013.

He estimates that the Chinese PV market will reach 8 GW in 2013, with another 1 GW of large-scale PV projects in South Africa achieving financing by year-end, through development and export-import finance.

However, BNEF warns that despite increased Chinese demand and a bottoming out of PV prices many manufacturers will fail in 2013. The company also predicts that leading companies will continue to add capacity in an effort to secure market share, exacerbating oversupply.