3.5 to 21 percent installation growth in 2012

While cuts to subsidies in places like Germany, Italy and France may have some thinking that the, ‘sky is falling’ in the photovoltaic sector, the latest report from IMS Research predicts healthy growth in 2012 on a global basis. In a fascinating development, the market analysts predict that China is set to become the second largest market, closely followed by Italy.

The IMS Research Q1’12 PV Demand Database charts conservative, most-likely and optimistic scenarios for 2012 installed capacity. Using data from more than 60 countries, the optimistic scenario would see 32.6 GW of installed capacity added in 2012, growth of 21 percent on 2011.

Driving this growth is geographic diversity of installation, as falling module and system prices seeing photovoltaic installations go in outside of the more established markets. Europe’s share of installations is set to fall from 69 percent in 2011, to 50 percent this year.

IMS Research predicts that six more countries will install 100 megawatts (MW) or more this year, from 17 in 2011, to 23 in 2012. "It is this geographic diversification that will help drive growth in global PV installations this year as the market becomes less dependent on just one or two markets. Ultimately it will also lead to stability for the industry in the longer term as the impact of a single country’s policy will weaken," said IMS Research’s Ash Sharma – in a statement announcing the report’s findings.

Despite all of this, Germany will remain the largest market for photovoltaics, with between six and 8.5 GW set to be installed. This demand is largely attributable to the spike in demand in the first quarter of 2011, as many attempted to complete installations before feed in tariff cuts came into effect.

IMS Research was acquired by IHS last month.