Short- and Mid-term Possibilities for Photovoltaics in Asia

The most developed countries in terms of photovoltaics are located in Europe. Germany and Italy are outperforming all other countries when it comes to promoting photovoltaics and the amount of energy they produce using photovoltaics. The US is also starting to pick up its development of photovoltaics. But the biggest region with good preconditions for widespread use of photovoltaics is Asia. How is the development of photovoltaics going in this region?

Let us start with the best-developing market in Asia at the present time: the Japanese market. After the accident at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, the country has tried to reduce its dependency on nuclear power. Renewable energies are strongly promoted at the present time in Japan. In particular, energy production by individuals is a trend in Japan. Installations of photovoltaics for residential houses have already begun in Japan, and it is advisable for companies to access the Japanese market now.

The next market for consideration is the Indonesian market. In Indonesia there are a lot of regions still without a continuous power supply. In this country, it will be necessary to supply complete solutions with energy storage. The Indonesian government is strongly supporting the development of photovoltaics in the country. This market seems to be a highly interesting one for companies to access.

There are similar conditions in India as in Indonesia. The country has many more inhabitants and is less organized, but the potential is surely high. India may be only accessible as a market through module production within India. For the potential to develop photovoltaics there, India should be considered an important potential market.

Countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore also have potential. However, in these countries there are no official photovoltaic promotion efforts. This means that these markets will grow slowly, according to the development of the given country.

Last, but not least, the biggest player in the Asian region is China. China has, during the last 10 months, adjusted its five-year targets for photovoltaics three times, with the target dramatically increasing each time. Nevertheless, the installation target of the latest five-year plan is still below the capacity of the companies producing photovoltaics in China, which is above 18 GWp/year. Thus, access to the Chinese market by foreign companies will be only possible in specialized niches. Only special business models and special customer groups will be accessible for foreign companies during the next three to four years. The big projects in China will be surely be supplied by the domestic big players in the Chinese market.

What should we do with this information?

The possibilities in the Asian markets are big. We can also be sure that these markets are developing much more quickly than the African or the South American markets. We should not hesitate to participate in these markets. Different countries have to be approached with different strategies due to their differential development and governmental strategies. This is possible for foreign companies, especially if they are also ready to implement module production in some of these countries. We should be aware that the big nations for cell production are Taiwan, China, and Malaysia. Using these cell production sources and approaching different countries with specific strategies can be very successful now.

To play a key role in the worldwide photovoltaic business in the future, companies need to consider the Asian markets now.

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