Europe is diminishing while China and Japan are aggressively growing their domestic consumption. China in particular has decided to support its PV industry, while looking good politically on the green front for a relatively small investment. Japan's generous FIT subsidy has increased their demand substantially. Overall the effect is to keep world demand at a pretty constant level of around 30-35GWp while prices stabilize and the industry restructures down from it's overbuilt 60GWp capacity. In the US, the fall in PV prices to around $0.70/Wp together with the existing subsidies has made PV projects profitable in sunny locations. This has produced some reasonable market growth, though many projects based on expectations of prices falling lower have been cancelled. US subsidies may not last as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) will reduce significantly in 2016 unless there is significant change in Congress.
Prices will probably stay at this level or higher for several years as industry profitability is restored. It is hard to see a rapid growth in PV volume or prices reducing for several years from this price level and world subsidy regime, though there are several optimistic market boosters forecasting robust PV growth. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/deutsche-bank-says-us-solar-boom-to-reach-50gw-by-2016-18298
Citigroup and Bloomberg are equally optimistic.
On the overall energy front the US seems committed to increasing natural gas and reducing coal consumption. Nuclear is dying a natural death from high costs and competition from natural gas as some existing plants are closed and new construction projects are cancelled. Solar and wind seem like minor sideshows as the country looks forward to energy independence as the worlds biggest oil producer. Concern about CO2 emissions seems to be yesterdays problem.
By Edmund Kelly