21GW installed PV in 2011, but Europe isn’t out of the hole yet

3GW more photovoltaics capacity will be installed in 2011 (21GW) over 2010 (18GW), predicts IMS Research. New positive information on supply chain pricing prompted the research firm to raise its 2011 outlook, though its long-term forecast fell slightly.

June 1, 2011 — 3GW more solar photovoltaics (PV) capacity will be installed in 2011 (21GW) over 2010 (18GW), predicts IMS Research. New positive information on supply chain pricing prompted the research firm to raise its 2011 outlook, though its long-term forecast fell slightly owing to decreasing incentives in several markets. While globally installations will grow, European installations will fall through 2012, possibly longer.

Click to Enlarge
Global PV installations (in GW) and proportion of
installations in Europe. (Source: IMS Research)

Global PV demand

With temperate installation growth (15% in 2011) and rapid price declines, the global PV stage is set for a demand surge in strong markets, such as Germany. IMS recently reported that the PV install backlog (projects in motion but not up and running, is at 10GW.

IMS Research forecasts a single-digit decline for PV installations in 2012, pulled down by Europe’s decline and market uncertainty the US and Asia. In 2011, these markets should exceed 5GW combined, but unclear government policy could jeopardize 2010 PV growth.

China’s target for installed PV capacity is doubling; however, IMS Research understands that market growth will be limited to government-controlled projects. A feed-in tariff (FiT) is still several years off, due to “too high” system prices. SEMI has reported China’s total installed PV at <1GW, despite producing >50% of the world’s photovoltaic panels.

PV industry development in 2012 will wholly depend on rapid cost reductions, which will keep prices in line with incentives in major markets, points out Sharma. Though prices are currently falling, polysilicon/wafer supply must help push costs further down next year.

Europe’s decline

Europe is no longer driving global PV installations. IMS Research’s latest PV demand database results show that European installations will fall in 2011 and 2012, in fact, European PV share could fall “considerably” for up to 5 years, said PV research director Ash Sharma, adding that Europe’s hot 2010 install levels will not return for “quite some time.” “Europe’s share of global demand is expected to fall from 80% in 2010 to 56% in 2012,” notes Sharma.

Most major PV markets have seen incentive cuts or plans to do so: Germany and Italy-based demand will fall by 3GW in 2012. Italy’s renewable energy incentives are finally settled, making the Italian market again viable after a paralyzed Q1 2011. Installations were 37% down in Q1, only around 3.5GW of new capacity. This is forecast to increase steadily each quarter throughout the year, culminating in a very large Q4.

The Japan earthquake effect

The nuclear energy crisis in Fukushima, Japan has tipped off a resurgence in politicians calling for solar energy, but Sharma is hesitant to say whether “talk” will snowball into “real support.”

Intersolar Europe

IMS Research’s Ash Sharma will discuss these forecasts and provide further data on the PV supply chain and installation demand at Intersolar Europe’s Conference Opening (June 6, Munich).

IMS Research is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry, offering syndicated market studies, bespoke research and consultancy services. For more information, visit www.pvmarketresearch.com

Nominate a Champion of Photovoltaics today! Photovoltaics World needs your help naming the top technologists, best PV installations, and more.

Subscribe to Photovoltaics World

Follow Photovoltaics World on Twitter.com via editors Pete Singer, twitter.com/PetesTweetsPW and Debra Vogler, twitter.com/dvogler_PV_semi.

Or join our Facebook group

Previous articleSPECIAL-SUPPLEMENT-LARGE-SCALE-SOLAR Volume 1 Issue 1
Next articleThe Vast, Maddening Promise of Enhanced Geothermal Energy
Avatar

No posts to display