Where will 2014 take the solar industry?
In the last couple of years, our industry faced historic challenges, but solar professionals and enthusiasts around the world persevered, joining together to make 2013 a year of unprecedented growth for solar. As we enter 2014, we’re proud to remain the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, with over 7 GW of installed capacity globally. No matter what challenges come our way, we are excited about the new opportunities for solar that lie ahead in 2014.
Here are the top 14 reasons why we are looking forward to the New Year:
1. Global Solar Demand: ~50 GW in 2014
In recent years, manufacturing overcapacity, bankruptcies, trade protectionism, and price fluctuations have tested the resilience of the solar industry. Today, a more mature market is facilitating price stability, higher capacity utilization rates, and supply-demand equilibrium. In 2014, global solar installations are expected to grow by more than 25 percent, and the market will continue to diversify geographically — with China, the U.S., and Japan accounting for much of global demand in 2014. Emerging markets in South America and the Middle East will also expand.
Market analyst group NPD Solarbuzz predicts that global demand will reach 49GW in 2014, and that the first quarter of this year will be the industry’s strongest yet: “The solar PV industry has reached a critical tipping point, with end-market demand hitting record levels almost every quarter,” said NPD Solarbuzz Vice President Finlay Colville. “This growth is being driven by leading module suppliers and project developers that returned to profitability during 2013, and have now established highly-effective global sales and marketing networks.”
2. Solar Demand in China Increases to ~14 GW in 2014
Deutsche Bank research analyst Vishal Shah expects that solar demand in China could reach between 12 and 15 GW next year, making it the world’s largest solar market. In October 2013, China’s National Energy Administration announced a goal of 20 GW of distributed solar by 2015, with 8 GW set to be installed by the end of 2014.
We’re extremely enthusiastic about the growth opportunities for both distributed generation and utility-scale power plants in China. Recently, we entered into a joint-venture with a subsidiary of the Datong Coal Mine Group, China’s third-largest state-owned coal mining operation, for the development of solar power plants in China. It’s particularly exciting to see traditional power industries embracing solar technology as a mainstream solution for large-scale energy generation.
3. Japan: Solar Power Rises
To lessen its dependence on nuclear power following the tragic Fukushima meltdown, Japan is looking to the sun to fulfill its energy needs. The country’s generous solar feed-in tariffs are helping drive installations, and analysts expect Japan to install about 7 GW by the end of 2014. Yingli Solar panels have the advantage of being JET Certified, meaning they have undergone stringent reliability and safety tests by the Japan Electrical and Environment Technology Laboratories. As such, Japan is set to be one of Yingli’s most promising markets in 2014.
4. Steady Growth in the United States
Solar demand in the U.S. is projected to total about 6 GW in 2014, up from ~4.5 GW in 2013, 3.2 GW in 2012, and 1.9 GW in 2011. Despite the continued uncertainty of unconstructive attacks on free trade, we are confident in our long-term presence in the U.S. market and our ability to continue to meet the needs of our U.S. customers.
A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) is projected to force about 50 to 75 GW of coal power plants to retire by 2016, and the U.S. will need clean, scalable, and cost-effective energy solutions to fill that hole. Solar remains well-positioned for growth in the U.S., especially if we can refrain from creating trade barriers that increase solar energy prices for consumers.
5. Solar to Quadruple in Latin America
Solar analysts at IHS forecast that the Latin American solar market will grow tremendously in 2014, increasing from 300 MW in 2013 to 1.4 GW in 2014. Most of these installations are expected in Chile and Mexico, although other countries like Brazil, Ecuador, and El Salvador are also picking up steam. For instance, the Brazilian state of Pernambuco held the nation’s first solar energy auction, registering over 122 MW for projects that will be developed over the next 18 months. Supportive government measures like this one, along with high electricity costs and rising demand for electricity, are fueling demand across Latin America.
6. Emergence of “Unsubsidized” PV Markets
Historically the solar market has been driven by supportive government policies, similar to other energy industries. Yet in 2013, we saw solar power reach grid parity in a number of countries and regions such as Italy and India. IHS predicts that rising costs of fossil fuel based energy sources will allow 700 MW of unsubsidized PV to be developed worldwide in 2014, especially in places with high irradiance and intense electricity demand.
7. Solar on the World Stage at the 2014 FIFA World CupTM
This summer, Yingli Solar is sending a message to the world: solar power is ready and accessible around the world; and it is too prevalent, too powerful, and too affordable to be ignored.
Hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide will be exposed to the Yingli Solar brand right alongside major consumer brands such as Visa and Coca-Cola. Our official 2014 FIFA World Cup™ campaign, “All Under One Sun” will include online and offline programs that will promote solar and the concept of sustainability to soccer fans. Yingli Solar is also proud to help power the FIFA World Cup: over 1,500 Yingli Solar panels are installed on the iconic Maracanã stadium, where seven matches, including the final, will take place.
8. Another Exciting Season with FC Bayern München
After a historic 2013 season for FC Bayern München, with five titles including the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League, we’re excited about what’s in store for 2014! Our sponsorship of FC Bayern München is a fantastic platform we use to spread the word about solar power in Germany and around the world.
9. More Energy Storage Options
Historically, energy storage has posed technical and economic barriers at large scale, but 2013 was a “breakout year” for grid-scale energy storage. Installations of solar energy storage systems are set to quadruple in 2014, totaling over 750MW, up from 192 MW in 2013. Strong growth is anticipated for residential, commercial, and utility market segments, with the largest growth in the commercial sector. In areas without access to the public grid, off-grid renewable energy storage is becoming more prevalent. Yingli Solar provides complete, small-scale solar energy systems for off-grid electricity generation.
10. GRID Alternatives Expanding Across the U.S.
As the first official solar panel supplier for GRID Alternatives, Yingli Solar is excited to help the non-profit solar installer expand their operations nationally. In addition to seven offices in California and one in Colorado, GRID is now launching offices in New York and New Jersey, and expects to pilot another new region in the fall. Yingli Solar has provided over 4 MW of solar panels to GRID, helping more than 1,300 low-income families save money with solar.
11. Innovative Financing = More Access to Solar
In the United States, solar leasing programs that allow qualified consumers to go solar for zero money down are now mainstream, with over $2.1 billion raised in residential and commercial lease funds in 2013. We are also seeing the popularization of crowd-funding for clean energy projects and the rise of community solar, allowing multiple community members to enjoy the power and financial benefits from a nearby solar array. In 2014, we expect to see continued expansion of these innovative financing programs.
12. U.S. Soccer Legend Mia Hamm Goes Solar
In early 2014, U.S. Women’s Soccer legend Mia Hamm and her husband, champion baseball star Nomar Garciaparra, are having Yingli Solar panels installed on their home by one of our residential installation partners, Verengo Solar. She is also partnering with Yingli Solar and Verengo Solar to promote the U.S. Soccer Friends & Family Program, which will offer special discounts to qualified soccer fans who choose to go solar. We are excited to have Mia Hamm help us spread awareness about the benefits of solar!
13. Awesome Industry, Awesome Partners!
We consider ourselves to be part of the global Yingli family, which includes our employees, suppliers, and valued partners from around the world. We love working with a diverse range of solar companies, non-profits, and individuals to harness the power of the sun. In 2014, we look forward to collaborating with our fantastic partners to continue our mission of providing clean, affordable solar energy for all.
There you have it, folks! We know what you’re thinking: those were only 13 reasons. That’s because we’re leaving the 14th reason to you. Leave us a comment to tell us why you’re excited for solar in 2014!