20.5 GWs of PV installations predicted for 2011

IMS Research says that at least 22 countries will each install more than 50 megawatts (MWs) of PV this year, while 18 will install a minimum of 100 MWs, and four will build at least one GW worth of projects. Looking ahead to 2015, it believes that at least 34 countries will install over 100 MWs.

The company goes on to say that decreasing demand in Germany and the Czech Republic will restrain global growth in 2011, but will speed PV component price reduction and help to accelerate growth elsewhere. Furthermore, it predicts that Europe, the Middle East and Africa’s share of installations will drop from 81 percent last year to 68 percent this year, despite high growth in markets like Italy.

Having achieved the position of second biggest PV market last year, IMS believes around three GWs worth of PV projects were built in Italy last year, despite more conservative estimates that one GW was installed. However, the final figure will not be released until the "the tens of thousands" of grid-connection applications received in the final months of last year have been processed.

It has also been predicted that PV demand will vary considerably by installation size: utility-scale systems over five MWs are forecast to grow by nearly 50 percent in 2011, while installations between 10 and 100 kilowatts are expected to stay flat – "largely because of the situation in Germany".

Ash Sharma, PV research director for IMS comments: "20 GW is a huge number for 2011, and would be a tremendous achievement, which I’m sure most would have thought impossible just two or three years ago. Having measured the PV supply chain at several points, our PV analyst team remains very upbeat about the market’s development this year; and even more so about the next two to three years. Our latest models predict installations of 35 GW in 2014 which certainly now looks achievable."