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Solar demand expected to increase outside of the world's top markets

Globaldemand for solar power is expected to get more diverse in coming years, withChina and Japan losing market share while the U.S., India and smaller marketsgain ground, according to GTM Research.

Thanksto an extension of the investment tax credit, U.S. solar installations areexpected to increase by more than 119% this year, the country the world'ssecond-largest market behind China. Demand in India is expected to spike by127% this year. Meanwhile, reduced feed-in tariffs are expected to push downdemand in China, Japan and the U.K.

Comparedto last year, when the world's five biggest markets accounted for 79% of globalsolar demand and China dominated with 34% market share, the top five countriesin 2020 are expected to account for 59% of demand and China's share will be cutto 22%.

Marketdiversification is already evident. For example, , a manufacturer andproject developer, has around 3,100 MW of mid- to late-stage bookings, 90% ofwhich are in international markets.

"Itis relatively diverse," First Solar CFO Mark Widmar said of the company'spipeline on an earnings call April 27. "We're seeing a lot of activity,clearly, in India, but we're starting to see more activity across Asia-Pacific,seeing activity throughout the [Middle East]."

"Soit's not in any one discrete market," Widmar added. "It's prettyrobust, and that's what we want to see, that type of diversification."

InLatin America, demand is expected to grow at a 28% compound annual rate through2020 compared to a global compound annual growth rate of 9% during the sameperiod, according to GTM Research's Global Solar Demand Monitor.

Asthe price of solar falls more countries are using auctions, rather than feed-intariffs, to drive growth, GTM Research noted.