According to latest forecast reports from IMS Research the worldwide PV market will almost double in 2010.

According to latest forecast reports from IMS Research the worldwide PV market will almost double in 2010 reaching 14.6GW i.e. nearly three times the size of the market in 2008 with Q2’10 resulting in PV power generation of 3.7GW thus generating $7.1 billion in revenues. The rise in the PV market is a result of high demand in major PV markets, most notably Germany where feed-in-tariff cuts has driven demand to a new level. The solar module shipments are forecasted to increase further in Q3’10 reaching 4.3 GW.

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“In contrast to the first half of 2009, when declining module prices and poor economic conditions stalled the market, current market conditions have led to huge a huge surge with PV module shipments in Q1’10 increasing by over 60% compared to the same quarter of the previous year” commented Research Analyst, Sam Wilkinson. “PV module suppliers are undoubtedly enjoying this surge in demand and results have improved significantly. We predict that average gross margins will reach over 30% this quarter,” continued Wilkinson.

PV Research Director, Ash Sharma commented, “Basing our forecast on inverter production is incredibly important this year as it’s well documented that inverter supply is limiting the PV market to a massive extent. Although demand may be higher than this 14.6 GW, if customers are not able to secure inverters then installations will not be completed”. Sharma adds, “Despite the strong underlying demand, we did however uncover a significant amount of double-ordering occurring as customers scramble to secure inverters. It’s possible we may see a large number of orders cancelled in 2H’10 or excess inventory in the supply chain”

Along with tracking PV demand, this forecast is also based on a survey of inverter suppliers, which analyzed the inverter industry’s production for 2010. Last time the PV market grew on this scale was back in 2008 when the PV market was dominated by Spain accounting nearly 43% of the PV capacity. In 2010 Germany is the main driver and is predicted to account for about 47% of new capacity.

Trouble may be looming ahead Sharma warns “In 2010, the top three markets – Germany, Italy and Czech Republic are predicted to install a combined 9.8 GW of new PV capacity. However, due to changes in incentive schemes and new regulations, this total is predicted to fall considerably in 2011 and new markets will need to pick up the shortfall”.

IMS Research is predicting a slowdown in growth at the end of the year and some softening of PV module prices in Q1’11. However this drop is predicted to be more gradual as compared to the drop in 2008 where the Spanish market collapsed and PV prices went into freefall.

Despite very high demand coming from EMEA (which in 2010 will have three GW+ markets), its share of the global market is actually predicted to fall slightly to 78% in 2010 as emerging markets in Asia and North America take off. First Solar (Suppliers of PV modules using Cadmium Telluride (CdTe)) remained the largest supplier of PV modules in Q1’10. However, its share of module shipments decreased for the fifth consecutive quarter with suppliers of crystalline technology slowly gaining emphasis with five leading Chinese module manufacturers (Suntech, Trina, Yingli, Canadian Solar and Solarfun) increasing their command on the market yielding a combined share of global shipments of 28% in the first quarter. Whilst IMS Research predicts that total PV module shipments will grow by 60% in 2010, shipments of Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) modules (dominated by First Solar) are forecast to increase by just 20% due to limited capacity increases for the technology until 2011. These results indicate that CdTe’s share of shipments will decrease from nearly 11% in 2009 to just over 8% in 2010.

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