2010 PV market growth strong

Solarbuzz’s annual PV market report, Marketbuzz 2011, adds that the PV industry generated USD$82 billion in global revenues, up 105 percent year on year from USD$40 billion in 2009.

Representing over 80 percent of global demand, the top five countries by PV market size were Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Japan, and the U.S., which reportedly collectively totaled 12.9 GW. However, there is still uncertainty surrounding how much PV Germany actually installed last year. The same goes for Italy. At the start of this month, Stefan de Haan told pv magazine that final Italian figures would not be known until at least June.

Furthermore, other industry analysts forecasts don’t compare with those of Solarbuzz. IMS Research, for example, stated back in January that 17.5 GW were installed, while the European Photovoltaics Industry Association believes that between just 14.3 and 16.5 GW of new capacity was added.

Meanwhile, Solarbuzz says that global solar cell production hit 20.5 GW last year, up from 9.86 GW in 2010. Of this, it explains that thin film production accounted for 13.5 percent of total production. Producers in China and Taiwan also continued to build share, says Solarbuzz, and now account for 59 percent of global cell production, up from 49 percent last year. The top two cell manufacturers in 2010 were Suntech Power and JA Solar, who tied for the first position, followed closely by First Solar.

The report then goes on to say that by 2015, it believes the European market share will fall to between 45 to 54 percent, as North America and several, unnamed Asian markets grow. It adds that the U.S. will be the fastest growing major country market over this period.

"The industry has now entered a phase of tightening incentive terms across important European markets. Cuts in unit tariffs will be far more rapid than the industry’s pace of cost reduction," comments Craig Stevens, president of Solarbuzz.

"While some key markets will decline in size as a result over the next two years, the U.S., Canada, China and Japan are some of the major countries that still offer growth potential. In addition, the rush to beat mid-year tariff reductions will ensure strong first half 2011 demand performance in Italy and Germany."

He adds: "Planned manufacturing capacity expansions will ensure the industry has adequate cell supplies over 2011 and 2012. However, the potential for excess supply taken together with already planned subsidy cuts will make both years challenging for the industry."