The last time a GW-sized global PV market grew on this scale was back in 2008, said IMS, when the Spanish market overheated and accounted for 43 percent of new PV capacity. This year, Germany is the main driver and is predicted to account for an even greater proportion some 47 percent of new capacity.
However, trouble may be looming ahead warned PV Research Director, Ash Sharma. In 2010, the top three markets Germany, Italy and Czech Republic are predicted to install a combined 9.8 GW of new PV capacity. However, due to changes in incentive schemes and new regulations, this total is predicted to fall considerably in 2011 and new markets will need to pick up the shortfall.
Whilst at the end of 2008, when the Spanish market collapsed and PV prices went into freefall, IMS is predicting a more gradual slowdown in growth at the end of this year and some softening of PV module prices in quarter one 2011.
And, despite very high demand coming from EMEA (which in 2010 will have three GW+ markets), IMS said its share of the global market is actually predicted to fall slightly to 78 percent this year as emerging markets in Asia and North America take off.
The research company went on to say that, according to its forecast, the global PV market will almost double in 2010 to reach a massive 14.6 GW, which is nearly three times size of the market in 2008. This 95 percent increase in installations, it explained, will be driven by a number of countries, most notably Germany.
In addition, to tracking PV demand, the forecast is based on a survey of inverter suppliers, which analyzed the inverter industrys production for 2010.
Mr. Sharma said: Basing our forecast on inverter production is incredibly important this year as its well documented that inverter supply is limiting the PV market to a massive extent. Although demand may be higher than this 14.6 GW, if customers are not able to secure inverters then installations will not be completed.
He added: Despite the strong underlying demand, we did however uncover a significant amount of double-ordering occurring as customers scramble to secure inverters. Its possible we may see a large number of orders cancelled in 2H10 or excess inventory in the supply chain.
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