PV installations to reach 24 GW in 2011; Italy to take the lead

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Flying in the face of this year’s weak demand, IMS Research has found that photovoltaic installations will rise by 24 percent year-on-year. In the first half of 2011, it reports that over eight GW of new capacity was installed. By the end of the fourth quarter of 2011, predicitions are that a further 15 GW will have been added.

While this is positive news, this installation "surge" has not translated into a demand for photovoltaic components, due to the high inventory levels currently present in the industry says IMS.

Furthermore, Europe is only expected to comprise three percent of this growth. As such, senior research director for photovoltaics, Ash Sharma, says that Europe’s share of global installations will drop from 82 percent in 2010, to 68 percent this year, and 50 percent by 2012.

The markets in Asia and America, however, are continuing on their upward trajectory, meaning that in 2011, they will account for 85 percent of new growth. This trend is set to continue into 2012.

IMS goes on to say that while it is still unclear exactly how much new photovoltaic capacity was added to the Italian grid in 2010, according to its estimates, the figure sits at 4.5 GW. Meanwhile, in 2011, the country is projected to install 6.8 GW, meaning it will become the world leader in terms of installed photovoltaic capacity, as was reported back in September.

How the market will fare in 2012, however, is uncertain at the moment, following the news that the country has almost reached its €6 billion feed-in tariff limit.

In terms of diversification, IMS has found that 20 markets will install over 100 megawatts (MW) this year, up from 14 in 2010. Additionally, it says that the U.K. will comprise one of the top 10 photovoltaic markets this year.

"Despite installing just 45 MW last year, the U.K. is set to install more than 500 MW in 2011 and become the eighth largest PV market," wrote Sharma. He added that the U.S. will rank as the third largest market, after Germany, while China will come in fourth.