A report by global analyst firm IHS says global solar installations will rise by 18 per cent in 2014, hitting a three-year high of 41 gigawatts (GW) and generating more than US$86 billion in revenue.
The analysts predict that next year will mark the first upturn in a two-year slowdown for the industry.
For 2013, an increase of 13 per cent on last year is expected, which is below the 15 per cent growth between 2011 and 2012.
Although next year will still fall some way short of the 35 per cent market growth observed in 2011, the projected $86 billion revenue generated in 2014 runs close to 2011, when that figure reached $89 billion.
“PV installations will accelerate in 2014 driven by low system prices, the creation of new markets in emerging regions and the continued growth in major countries such as the United States, Japan and China,” said IHS’s senior research director for solar, Ash Sharma.
IHS predicts that all of the major solar regions will return healthy growth figures in 2014.
Europe’s solar market plummeted dramatically in 2012 and is on course for for further falls in 2013.
However, Mr Sharma believes next year should see a significant and decisive upswing for the industry, marked by the emergence of key new players.
“While PV installations will continue to stagnate or fall in established European markets like Germany or Italy, rapid growth is forecast in emerging countries in the region, such as Turkey, Poland, Ukraine and Russia,” noted Mr Sharma.
“The growth in the developing PV nations will more than offset the poor conditions in the large, well-established solar markets.”
Despite a return to growth, Europe will further relinquish ground on the global scale.
Asia and the Americas will grab more of the market share, limiting Europe to just 29 per cent of the industry, a striking fall from the 57 per cent high of 2012.
The upturn in the global solar market has already begun, according to IHS.
The fourth quarter of 2013 will post strong figures, boasting the highest number of quarterly installations in two years, a total of 9.8GW for Q4, up from 8.5GW for the middle two quarters and 7.0GW for the first quarter.
IHS has noted that the global solar industry has traditionally enjoyed strong final quarters, and this year will be no different, driven by incentive cuts designed to come into play at the beginning of a new year.
China will drive the largest share of this end-of-year push, installing more than 2.0GW of solar power between now and December 31 thanks to improved incentives and recently announced tax breaks.