The Year 2001 and the PV Market

Extracted, with permission, from the January issue of ‘PV NEWS.’ Paul D. Maycock, Publisher

The year 2001 remains the year of subsidized grid-connected residential and commercial systems installed primarily in Japan, Germany and the United States (especially California). Shipments of sliced single crystal silicon and polycrystal silicon continue to dominate the PV product, while thin films, especially amorphous silicon, continue to grow with early shipments of cadmium telluride and copper indium diselenide. The PVEnergy News annual industry report highlights the following key results of 2001. 1. EXPLOSIVE GROWTH OF GRID-CONNECTED PV 2001 growth of grid-connected PV over 2000 is expected to be over 50%. 1.1 Increase in Japanese Sales We estimate the 2001 grid-connected PV in Japan to top 110MW. Despite the subsidy being dropped to about 15%, over 20,000 families purchased PV systems at an installed cost, after subsidy, of about $5.00 per peak watt. 1.2 Increase in German Grid-Connected Sales Despite political issues concerning the large German payment for PV-generated electricity (99 Pfennig/kWh), German installations could exceed 75 MW in 2001. 1.3 Dramatic Growth in the US Market with California Leading the Way In 2000, we estimated the total US grid-connected installations at about 12 MW. Our present early estimates for the California installations of over 10 MW, with the total US installations topping 18 MW. 2. THIN FILM SHIPMENTS INCREASE The shipments of thin films in 2001 increased by over 50% from 2000. Shell/Siemens Solar shipped nearly one MW of CIS. BP SOLAR (Solarex) shipped over 5 MW of amorphous silicon. Kaneka more than doubled shipments of amorphous silicon. Sanyo increased its shipment of Hetero-junction of Amorphous silicon on crystal silicon substrate (HIT). Wurth Solar and Antec Solar started shipments from their new CIS and CdTe plants. Delays in planned production occurred in the First Solar CdTe plant. 3. FIRST GRID-CONNECTED RESIDENTIAL PV SYSTEMS SALES AND INSTALLATIONS BY HOME BUILDERS AND HOME-IMPROVEMENT STORES IN THE UNITED STATES. For some time, Japanese home-builders have sold and installed PV systems. In California, PV systems were offered by home-builders. The Sacramento Municipal Utility offered their subsidized PV Pioneer II homes through several Sacramento builders. AstroPower offered packaged systems through several California home builders. Shell/Siemens Solar and BP Solar offered their packaged systems though home-builders. AstroPower and San Diego Home-Depots are test marketing installed PV Residential systems through three stores in the area. Goals of several thousand PV systems per year have been set (2-4 MW per year). 4. NEW PLANTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION TO TOP 300 MW/YEAR. The 400 MW+ per year market in 2002 creates the need for expanded and new capacity. Our survey indicates the 100 MW CdTe plant of First Solar could start production in 2001. The 60-90 MW expansion of BP SOLAR Spain is expected. The 25 MW amorphous silicon plant of Bekaert/United Solar could start production in late 2002. A new 25 MW amorphous silicon plant in Thailand (Thai PV) could start production in early 2003. Sharp’s recently announced off shore plant could start production in late 2002 The Wurth Solar, ANTEC and BP Solar thin film plants could move from pilot production in 2001 to over 20 MW in 2002. The list goes on, but it is clear that continued success in plant expansion assures adequate product for the next few years.