Solar Photovoltaic (PV) power is gradually establishing itself as a mainstream energy source following a decade of exponential growth. Continually declining prices of solar PV power, coupled with country-specific clean energy targets and strong regulatory support, are driving the growth of the global solar PV power market. The growing interest of the corporate sector in procuring solar PV power to meet their renewable energy targets as well as the increasing prevalence of solar PV in distributed generation (DG) boost the demand for solar power globally.

China continues to hold the largest share of the global solar PV power market despite restructuring financial incentive schemes, which have restricted support to utility-scale and DG projects. India is another strong market driven by ambitious solar energy targets and supportive government policies. The North American market, despite the slowdown in the short term caused by the imposition of import tariffs, is expected to register positive growth in the long term as a result of an overall favorable environment for solar PV power in the region. The mature European market, after a period of slow growth, is recovering on account of revised renewable energy targets and increasing uptake of solar power with storage solutions. The utility-scale sector holds the majority share of the global solar PV power market, while the commercial & industrial and residential markets register the highest growth rates. Residential and small-scale commercial sector will see growth owing to the demand in solar-mature markets with a well-established solar infrastructure.

In a market where steadily declining costs have led to the commoditization of solar PV modules, manufacturers can secure a competitive advantage by focusing on adding value to their current service offerings, including developing smart solutions with storage capabilities. Vertical integration by market participants to ensure incorporation of all upstream and downstream capabilities will help augment market growth.

The imposition of tariffs on solar PV modules imported from China in countries such as the United States and India has created opportunities for domestic manufacturers to occupy a larger share of the local solar PV market by investing in increasing their manufacturing footprint. Strong, global players who do not have a manufacturing presence in these domestic markets may try to circumnavigate import tariffs by exporting from exempt geographies by strengthening manufacturing activities in these regions. Players entering new and emerging markets will also benefit from investing in strong local sales teams familiar with the local solar PV power market dynamics.

The solar industry is intensely competitive and evolving continuously. Consolidation within the market is likely to continue as companies seek to enhance their service offerings and expand their global market presence. Mature markets such as Europe continue to favor established players with demonstrated expertise and trusted brand names while emerging markets such as Latin America remain open to the entry of new players.