Global forecasts for PhotoVoltaic raised for this year

Germany continues to lead the world in PhotoVoltaic panels with iSuppli boosting its global forecasts due to stronger than expected growth in the country.

Predictions for worldwide installations of the systems were previously set at 14.2 Gigawatts in 2010, though this figure has now been increased to 15.8GW.  This will signal a dramatic rise from the 7.2GW produced in 2009, a growth of 119 percent.

According to Stefan de Haan, senior analyst at iSuppli, Germany has blazed a trail for the market which will see Photovoltaic systems pick up across the globe.

“Germany’s solar business—the world’s largest market—grew at an extraordinary rate in the second quarter of 2010, causing PV installations to exceed expectations during the first half of the year. In the first half, Germany installed 3.9GW worth of solar systems. Germany’s surprising performance was driven by excellent investment conditions and demand pull-forward prior to a cut of the country’s Feed-in-Tariff  incentive program in July,” de Haan said.

It is noted however that forecasts for the beginning of next year will be down slightly from previous expectations, expected to reach 19.3GW rather 20.2GW, though this still represents an increase from this year.

The slowing of pace in the beginning of the year is expected to benefit the market over the course of the year, as the deceleration will drive down pricing for solar modules and stimulate demand in the second half.

“The solar market frequently suffers a slowdown in the first quarter of a year, and 2011 will be no exception,” de Haan said. “This deceleration will cause inventories of PV solar modules to rise—and pricing for solar modules to drop, boosting sales for the entire year.”

It is expected that the average price for crystalline solar module will decline by nine percent across the world in the first quarter, followed by six percent in the second quarter.  It is expected that this will pick up again towards the end of next year, with Germany alone reaching 9.4GW of new installations.

Another reason for the reduction in forecasts for 2011 is due to other European countries failing to reach expectations for demand.  For example a 45 percent decrease in ground installations is being discussed in Spain, while France has limited the annual market to less than 1GW until 2014.

However, the reduction in prices in the early part of the year will no doubt have a positive effect in the UK, the fastest growing market for Photovoltaic systems, where government promises on ‘Feed in Tariffs’ similar to that of Germany will offer the opportunity for system owners to sell surplus energy back to the national grid.