iSuppli Predicts Doubling of Solar PV Installs in 2010

A big uptick in the demand in the German solar market, combined with plunging prices are expected to boost solar demand in 2010, leading iSuppli Corp. to upgrade its forecast of installations of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in 2010. iSuppli predicts solar installations will rise to 13.6 gigawatts (GW) in 2010, up 92.9 percent from 7 GW in 2009. The previous forecast, released in February, called for 8.3 GW worth of installations in 2010, up 64 percent from 2009.

The strong rise in PV installations in 2010 will be driven by robust market conditions in the second and fourth quarters, which will more than compensate for slower performances in the first and third quarters, iSuppli predicts.

“This will be an up and down year for PV installations,” said Henning Wicht, director and principal analyst for PV at iSuppli. “The first quarter of 2010 was negatively affected by winter conditions, likely causing a decline in installations compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. However, the second quarter is expected to be a blockbuster for the global PV industry. Reduced Feed-in-Tariffs (FIT) in Germany are coming in July and consumers in that country will rush to install PV systems before that incentive becomes less compelling. A market correction will happen in the third quarter, leading to a huge fourth quarter due to the approach of other countries’ FIT deadlines in January 2011.”

The company said that many Tier 1 suppliers of c-Si modules and cells will be sold out for the year in short order. Tier 2 and Tier 3 module suppliers now are seeing business pick up as they send modules to Germany to meet the rising demand.

Despite the short-term supply challenges, the outlook for global PV installations remains bright. By 2011, global PV installations will rise to 20.3 GW, nearly triple the 7 GW in 2009.

Looking ahead to 2011, there could be even more supply constraints. Based on iSuppli’s analysis of capacity announcements, unless additional expansions take place, crystalline-Silicon (c-Si) modules could encounter constraints in 2011. iSuppli believes that utilization rates for c-Si module production facilities will climb to more than 90 percent in 2010.

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