iSuppli: Germany strong, solar PV installs rolling

Stronger than expected growth in Germany, falling ASPs, and resurgent demand are all in the cards for 2010-2011 solar PV installations, according to iSuppli’s upwardly revised outlook.

November 9, 2010 – Stronger than expected growth in the largest global end market for solar PV technology has prompted iSuppli to hike its outlook for 2010 solar PV installations, to 15.8GW/118%+ growth. The previous outlook was just a hair under 100% to 14.2GW.

But there’s a trade-off: 2011 won’t be quite as rosy as anticipated, says iSuppli, which sees 19.3GW installations representing 22% growth, vs. previous forecast of 20.2GW/42%.

For 2010 robustness, thanks go to Germany which surprised on the upside early in the year, with 3.8GW worth of solar installs in 1H10, thanks to “excellent investment conditions” and activity to pull in projects prior to a July reduction in the country’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentive program, notes Stefan de Haan, senior analyst for iSuppli, in a statement.

Despite a big growth dropoff, 2011 actually should start out pretty robust, thanks to a seasonal slowdown in installations in 1H11 that will drive down pricing for solar modules, setting the stage for a comeback in 2H11. ASPs for crystalline silicon< (c-Si) modules are expected to decline -9% in 1Q and another -6% in 2Q — pushing system prices to €1.9-€2.7/W in Germany, which should swell to 9.4GW of new installations in the year.

“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.”

Meanwhile, iSuppli points to several shifts in solar incentive policies in other key European markets. Spain faces “significant FiT cuts” in 2011, perhaps up to 45% for ground installations. Political support in France for PV “seems to be crumbling,” de Haan writes, with that domestic market likely limited to <1GW through the next couple of years. Belgium — bigger than either of those two nations for solar installations, ranked $6 vs. $7 and #10 — is likely to develop slower than hoped due in part to tighter legislative requirements for rooftop installations. And the Czech market faces “a drastic decline” in 2011, he notes.


Global forecast of average sequential pricing changes for crystalline
silicon (c-Si) solar modules (% change in pricing, US $). (Source: iSuppli)


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