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Solar Forecasts Differ Wildy

If there's one industry whose future is difficult to gage in terms of volume shipments, then it must be solar panels. A recent article in The Economist magazine stated that International Energy Agency (IEA) five-year outlooks had typically been three times lower than actual installation (see graph below).

Other market watchers have vastly different views of what to expect over the next five years and beyond in terms of solar module installations. The most optimistic case MLT Analytics came across was from Solar Power Europe, whose High Scenario predicts around 1100 GW of installations in 2028. On the other end of the spectrum, WoodMcKenzie predicts just 352 GW of installations in 2028, with the market essentially flat over the next eight years. These forecasts differ by fact of more than 300%.

The PV encapsulation market is a core component of MLT Analytics' Global Ethylene-based POE/POP Report, which is undergoing a major update right now. We've analyzed various scenarios, taking into consideration ample module production capacity that is driving module prices downward, and on the other hand tariff barriers that are pushing prices up in the U.S, even more so if the country comes down hard on modules made in Southeast Asia by Chinese manufacturers.

Overall, we see ample scope for countries outside of the U.S., which itself accounts for less than 10% of the global market, to take advantage of lower module prices and take up the slack, so we still anticipate the solar market growing strongly in the coming years. We think installations on 2028 will be 35% higher than in 2024, and almost 80% higher than in 2023. Subscribe to our Global Ethylene-based POE/POP Report to get the full story.


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