Global solar market will slow from 2011

The global solar PhotoVoltaic market, despite worries about governments reducing initiatives, will be set to grow over 2011 driven by falling prices making the idea of PV installations more attractive.

Overall installations for PV in 2011 should add up to 20.2 Gigawatts (GW) which will be up almost half, or 42.7 percent, from 14.2GW in 2010 forecasts analyst and market research outlet iSuppli. This does show a slow down from the massive 97.9 percent growth in 2009 but is still encouraging in a market which is suffering from world governments taking a step back on incentives. 

Germany, which currently leads the way in global PV installations, will be cutting down on its Feed-in-Tariffs (FITS) as well as Italy. Budgetary concerns in Greece, Italy and Spain means that 2011 will slow down compared to 2010. It’s thought that the weakening currency in the Eurozone compared to the Chinese yuan will artificially inflate prices for solar cells along with other system components in Europe.

However, senior analyst at iSuppli Stefan de Haan says that contrary to some observers’ fears, “installations will continue to rise at a prodigious rate next year.”Modestly falling pricing for solar cells and complete PV systems are expected to more than mitigate the negative impact of the falling FITs and rising yuan.”

As long as the US dollar/euro exchange rate stays above $1.20/€, iSuppli thinks that crystalline silicon solar cell prices won’t increase this year, and instead will decrease by about five percent compared to 2010. Installation prices in 2011 will fall slightly more, at about 10 percent in Europe.

The decline means ROI for installation will keep smiles on faces and demand will still be there.

The charts will remain roughly the same, growing but still at a lower rate than in 2010. Germany, top dog in the PV game, will amount to 9.5GW of PV in 2011, a 43.9 percent increase from 6.6GW in 2010. Italy, which is second for generating solar power, should be set to install 2GW worth of PV in 2011, which will be up 53.6 percent from 1.3 GW in 2010.

The US will be third in 2011 with 1.9 GW, up 79.3 percent from 1.1GW in 2010. France and Japan, fourth and fifth in the charts respectively, should see expansion and cross the 1GW line for the first time.

The Czech Republic, which formerly has been doing well for itself in the solar energy market, will see installations plunge in 2011 to 150MW to 250MW for the year, down 1GW in 2010. 

As we reported last week, while the UK will not be in the top five for a while longer, it will see massively healthy expansion in the arena with a growth rate of 1500 percent. While iSuppli has just released its forecast for 2011, it thinks that the market will suffer by 2012.

Stefan de Haan said: “iSuppli believes 2012 will be the year when the PV industry weans itself from the generosity of German subsidies. The German market will cool off and expand by only 4 to 5 GW per year for the next several years. We believe the government aims to keep an orderly progression in order to achieve an ultimate goal of around 80GW of installed PV capacity.”