Fear, uncertainty and doubt are ever present in the North American PV market, according to the latest ‘North America PV Markets Quarterly’ report from NPD Solarbuzz. In the US, issues over module dumping from China and the expiration of the US federal cash grant do not help, but there is growing concern of the feed-in tariff system in Ontario, Canada, not least as it is responsible for 99% of the Canadian PV market.
However, the market research firm still expects the US market to triple by 2015 and is still on course to reach 1.95GW of new installations in 2011, double 2010 levels. NPD Solarbuzz said that the US PV market grew by 32% in Q3'11, compared to the previous quarter and is projected to account for 84% of North American demand in the fourth quarter. Ontario is expected to account for the remaining 16%.
“PV is now positioned to take significant market share from other energy sources as it approaches grid parity in some regions. Downstream companies are facing enormous challenges to adapt to rapidly changing channel structure and business models in order to successfully participate in that opportunity,” said Craig Stevens, president of NPD Solarbuzz.
Regions driving growth in North America include California, which remains the largest single market in Q4’11, with 21% of market share. Ontario is forecast to become the second-largest region (16%), followed by New Jersey (11%).
Ground-mount installations are forecast to have 38% of the market in the fourth quarter, followed by building-mount and non-residential systems (>100kW), which will have 37% of the market. The ground-mount segment is benefiting from demand from Ontario and from large-scale installations in California and Arizona geared toward meeting the state RPS requirements.
According to the market research firm, the US federal government played a key role in providing investment tax credits (ITC), cash grants, depreciation bonuses and loan guarantees totalling over US$1.4 billion by the end of the third quarter, which was equivalent to 800MW of installed capacity.
Despite concerns, the North American market should triple in size by 2015, with ground-mount installations securing 42% of the market.