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Analyst: 2009 was actually good for PV installs, module shipments

Despite an overall tough year for solar photovoltaics (and most other industries), new installations and shipments of PV modules actually "grew substantially" in 2009, thanks in part to a rush ahead of anticipated tariff adjustments in Germany, according to a recent analysis from IMS Research.

January 27, 2010 - Despite an overall tough year for solar photovoltaics (and most other industries), new installations and shipments of PV modules actually "grew substantially" in 2009, according to a recent analysis from IMS Research.

Their take: PV module shipments rose more than 25% to 8GW, vs. a 5%-10% increase in new installations. That's due to "unprecedented growth" after a horrid 1H09, after which many industry watchers predicted annual declines.

If modules rose 25%, but installations only rose as much as 10%, where did the modules go? The crux is in how and when an installation is actually recorded, according to IMS market analyst Sam Wilkinson. "We are seeing delays of two quarters between a module being shipped and it finally being connected to the grid and therefore being counted as an ‘installation’ in official figures -- perhaps longer in very large installations," he notes. Also, a lot of PV modules were shipped in 4Q09 anticipating a strong market in Germany in 1H10, before rumored cuts to the country's tariff/FIT (which turned out to be true).

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