IDC: Solar PV module shipments doubling by 2015

Global solar PV module shipments will grow from 22.7GW in 2011 to 43.8GW in 2015, as multi-GW markets in Asia take the growth crown from Europe, says IDC Energy Insights in an updated quarterly report.

December 14, 2011 – Global solar PV module shipments will grow from 22.7GW in 2011 to 43.8GW in 2015, says IDC Energy Insights in an updated quarterly report. Meanwhile, module prices are racing toward bottom, even as China and India are placing big bets on solar energy adoption with “extremely aggressive targets,” the firm says.

The firm calculates that Asia-Pacific (including Japan) will surge from around 23% of global module shipments to over 49% in 2015. During the same period, Europe will sink from 66% in 2011 to just ~39%.

Europe was the center of the solar PV world through 2009-2010, with Germany, Italy, Spain, etc. accounting for nearly 80% of global module sales. But sweeping changes from policies (subsidies and targets) to pricing are leveling out growth in Europe, giving rise to growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

China, for example, has doubled its 2015 solar energy target to 10GW just in the past year, and the next five-year plan due in 2012 could hike that even higher, according to Ryan Reith, program manager, IDC Energy Insights Tracker products. “While Chinese solar manufacturers have been feeling the heat about the generous state loans they have been given access to, which many believe is a cause for the rapidly declining module prices, the notion that a great domestic opportunity lies ahead is unquestioned.” He also points out that seven of the top 11 module manufacturers are Chinese, so “the fight for domestic projects will undoubtedly be a good one.”

Growth shifting to multi-GW markets in Asia and elsewhere is generally a good thing for the industry; “the broader the market becomes, the healthier the industry will be,” noted Jay Holman, research manager, IDC Energy Insights Renewable and Distributed Strategies. As long as the solar industry depends on government subsidies, that diversification is crucial, because having multiple large markets reduces risk that any economic or political changes in one key region “will throw the industry into a tailspin.”



Worldwide PV module shipments. (Source: IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Photovoltaic Module Tracker)

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