Solar will account for roughly half of new electricity capacity out to 2020.
With an expected 55 gigawatts set to be installed, the global PV market will grow 36 percent in 2015, according to GTM Research's latest report, Global PV Demand Outlook, 2015-2015: Exploring Risk in Downstream Solar Markets. That's up significantly from the market's 2 percent growth in 2014.
If 2014 was a "transitional year," as the report calls it, 2015 will be a transcendent year. Led by China, the Asia-Pacific region will install more than half of all global PV this year. Europe will begin an upswing, and North America, primarily the United States, will continue its year-over-year growth.
"China has emerged as the largest global market for PV, underpinned by a new feed-in tariff program and ambitious solar goals under the Five Year Plan," writes report author and GTM Research Solar Analyst Adam James. GTM Research forecasts that China will install 14 gigawatts of the region's 30 gigawatts of PV in 2015.
Europe's share of the global PV market has steadily declined since its dominance in the period 2004-2011. However, GTM Research expects it to bottom out this year at 21 percent and begin growing again in 2016. By 2020, Europe will install 42 gigawatts and account for 31 percent of the global market.
The United States will be the third-ranked PV market this year, behind only China and Japan. GTM Research forecasts the United States to install 8 gigawatts, which constitutes 14 percent of the global PV market.
To date, the global solar PV market has been largely shaped by policy booms and busts. However, with costs continuing to fall, we're entering a new era of economic competitiveness in which solar PV will be increasingly market-based. According to the report, we'll also see new countries come into play.
"One profound change in the global landscape is that emerging regional markets -- such as Latin America, Africa and the Middle East -- are expected to grow from their historical levels of 1 percent of annual demand to 17 percent over the next five years," said James.
"Our core thesis is that solar is poised for exponential growth that will help it account for roughly half of new capacity out to 2020," added James. "While solar demand will grow almost everywhere, there are a few key drivers that will be particularly significant, including unprecedented demand in emerging markets, the evolution of grid parity in Europe, and massive headroom in developing countries such as China and India."
By 2020, GTM Research forecasts the solar PV market to hit 135 gigawatts.
For more information, visit http://www.greentechmedia.com/research/report/global-pv-demand-outlook-2015-2020.