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Latin America and Caribbean solar markets to skyrocket by 2017

Southeast Asian ‘megacity’ envisioned as a ‘green’ metropolis
Existing PV Applications in Latin America and the Caribbean (6 GW). Photo from NPD Solarbuzz

A recent report by solar energy market research firm NPD Solarbuzz suggests that demand for solar photovoltaic energy across Latin America and the Caribbean is set to skyrocket over the next four years, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 45 percent.

Mexico, Chile and Brazil are already emerging as market leaders in the region, with rapid growth in the solar sector fueled by a combination of net-metering, Renewable Portfolio Standards and other policies within their countries.

The P.V. markets in the three countries are seen as continuing to grow; projected to have nearly 70 percent of the P.V. demand within the region by 2017.

“Historically, P.V. demand was confined to rural off-grid and niche applications, but new renewable energy policies and incentive programs are now opening up the region for strong P.V. deployment. Set against a backdrop of strong economic growth, expanding energy demand, and increasing electricity prices, the conditions for P.V. adoption appear particularly attractive,” said Chris Sunsong, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.

The dominant ground-mount segment of the solar sector will provide 60 percent of P.V. demand by 2017. Meanwhile, the commercial and residential sectors will be seeing increased P.V. adoption from 2015 onwards as costs continue to decline and local installers seek new revenue opportunities.

Obstacles yet to overcome

While outlook for P.V. adoption in the regions is particularly strong, the report warned that there remains a variety of technical, economic and political obstacles to overcome.

“P.V. connection and integration procedures are not yet clearly defined, and there are concerns about grid stability as P.V. contributions come online,” noted Mr. Sunsong. “Electricity subsidies in Mexico and low natural gas prices in Peru are also delaying the onset of P.V. grid-parity for some end-user categories, while import tariffs across the region are keeping PV system costs on the high side.”

The report concludes that P.V. market development in the Latin America and the Caribbean is essential to sustaining global revenue growth targets with diminishing demand and market uncertainties weakening traditional markets such as Europe, the United States, China and India. – EcoSeed Staff



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