Global solar plants demand is expected to reach 112 Gigawatts in 2019
According to data analyzed by PV Info Link, the decision to curb photovoltaic subsidies in China at the end of may means that new PV installed capacity will decline globally this year, with about 88 Gigawatts of new PV installed capacity expected for the whole of 2018.
At the same time, the Chinese government's policy changes have led to a drop in spot market prices on the PV value chain of about 30 per cent.
For 2019, however, analysts expect demand to rise sharply, to 112 gigawatts globally.
The main reason is that China's solar target has been upgraded to 2020, and the Indian and us markets have begun to grow rapidly.
In addition, PV Info Link expects installed capacity in 16 countries worldwide to increase by more than 1 GW next year.
In Europe, the countries concerned will be Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Ukraine.
China's share of global photovoltaic capacity, which accounted for more than half of the global market last year, is declining.
PV Info Link estimates the world's largest solar market will account for 39 per cent of global capacity in China this year and 38 per cent next year.
EU member states are expected to increase their share of the global solar module market from 11 per cent to 12 per cent, while European capacity is expected to increase from 9.5 gigawatts to 13.5 gigawatts.
PV Info Link also expects increased consolidation among manufacturers, rapid expansion of the world's leading polysilicon manufacturers, particularly in western China, and the gradual withdrawal of many small businesses as large manufacturers reduce costs.
This development will also have a negative impact on leading overseas manufacturers, according to PV Info Link.
Many small wafer makers are also likely to exit the market gradually, and consolidation in the single wafer market will follow a similar pattern.
However, for polysilicon chip suppliers, analysts see little price differential, which means consolidation will slow and many of these manufacturers are likely to return to the market when demand picks up again next year.
For battery makers, analysts see clear advantages for large companies, but those that cut costs could be marginalized.
With the help of China's quality-centered leader program, the production and efficiency of single PERC products have been further improved. PV Info Link predicts that such products will take an advantage this year and the market share of single PERC will increase from 28% to 46%.
For the first half of 2019, analysts expect weak demand due to three factors: first, seasonal factors, such as the Chinese lunar New Year, and second, only a small number of projects in the Top Runner plan will be completed in the first half.
A third reason is that countries with higher demand in the first quarter, such as India, Japan and Australia, are likely to see less growth than usual.
As a result, analysts expect further price cuts in the middle of next year, with prices hitting their lowest in April.
By contrast, a strong rebound is expected in the second half of next year, which could lead to regional supply bottlenecks.
Demand is expected to reach at least 32 gigawatts in the third and fourth quarters, with a single product likely to account for 60 per cent of the market.
This can also lead to bottlenecks in the supply of polysilicon and monocrystalline silicon wafers.
Overall, the solar industry will return to a higher period of prosperity, according to PV Info Link.