Photovoltaic demand on the up and up

Global photovoltaic (PV) demand is on the up and up for 2010 and should end up making  double the rate of installations over last year, according to the latest quarterly report from Solarbuzz. 

Market size has been raised by Solarbuzz for 2010 up to 15.2 GW, which is up 7.5 GW in 2009. It says that the last three quarters of 2010 should generate as much as 12.7 GW thanks to strong growth particularly in Europe, the US, Japan and China.

Craig Stevens, of Solarbuzz, reckons that with supply troubles and a recovering, but still uncertain and challenging economic environment means that the support of government policies is more important than ever if the consumer is going to get behind PV and solar technology. “Preliminary data on global industry revenues shows a drop of 40 percent to just over $12 billion in Q1 2010,” says Solarbuzz, “which was nearly four times the level one year earlier.”

The report highlights that estimated upstream inventory days have been flat from the end of Q1 2010 to Q2, while downstream days have fallen to a third of the end Q1 level. There’s also been a huge rise in cell capacity utilisation, with manufacturers working at full capacity during Q2 2010. 

Sharp is the top cell manufacturer at the moment based on total revenues. It was followed by Suntech Power and First Solar. This is in line with Solarbuzz’s suggestion that manufacturers in Asia are going steady because of their success in lowering unit costs.