The global solar market has yet to show signs of turnaround after going through the turbulent 2016. The latest Gold Member Solar Report by EnergyTrend, a division of TrendForce, forecasts that the global PV demand for 2017 will total just 73.9 gigawatts. This year’s PV demand growth will be nearly flat for the first time after years of expansion. Also, the ranking of the top three regional solar markets will likely change this year, with India having the opportunity to displace Japan to become the world’s third largest.
The U.S. Department of Commerce that on March 1 announced changes to the antidumping duties (AD) that are imposed on PV cell imports from Taiwanese suppliers during the 2014~2016 period. According to the preliminary result of the case review, the Commerce Department decided to substantially lower the AD rates for Taiwanese cell suppliers. The initial ruling had some of them pay the highest rate of 27.55% and the lowest rate of 11.45%, while the rest would have to pay 19.5%. The adjustments made after the review cut the highest rate down to 4.2% and the lowest rate down to 3.5%. The majority of Taiwanese suppliers, however, now pay a rate of 4.09%.
Volume production of PV cells based on PERC (passivated emitter rear cell) technology is expected to reach a new peak in 2017 on account of advances in equipment and manufacturing process. The latest PERC technology report from EnergyTrend, a division of TrendForce, states that PERC cell suppliers that began to expand their production capacity last year will be completing their works in the first half of 2017. Global PV cell production capacity on the whole will increase this year, while PERC cell capacity is forecast to reach 25GW by the year’s end. The total annual output of PERC cells is also expected to double compared with 2016.
EnergyTrend, a division of TrendForce, estimates that the total PV demand worldwide for 2016 will reach 69.5GW. The installation rush in China during the year’s first half and significant market growth in the U.S. and India have been driving this year’s demand.
Global volume demand for lithium batteries that power xEVs (plug-in vehicles) is estimated to reach 1.7 billion units in 2016 and grow by 17% annually to 2 billion units in 2017, according to EnergyTrend, a division of TrendForce. EnergyTrend reports that the China has taken measures to curb excessive subsidy payments to domestic xEV manufacturers during the second half of 2016. Thus, the delay in subsidy payments and investigation on potential cases of subsidy fraud have impacted market demand for xEV batteries in the short term. With the investigation winding down, China’s xEV market is expected to make full recovery and again become the key demand driver for xEV batteries in 2017.