The latest release of the Marketbuzz® report by Solarbuzz NPD shows that the global solar PV market installations reached a record high of 27.4 gigawatts(GW). Even more significantly, this growth represents a 40% growth year on year. Below are some excerpts from the report and some highlights of notable observations.
Although this growth was attributed to increased demand from installers in a rush to take advantage of solar incentives that were bound to get a cut at the end of the year.The first half of 2011 was characterized by overproduction that was the main basis for declining prices throughout the year.
Solarbuzz also makes a note that 2011 is the year that saw increased production by Chinese producers for products like crystalline silicon wafers, cells and even modules to a point of dominating the market. Against expectations, the market share of thin film witnessed a market decline too in the year while demand in the Asian market grew rapidly.
In terms of annual returns for manufacturers, the year saw solar companies generate up to $93 billion. This represented a growth of 12% on the figures recorded for the previous year. The Marketbuzz report also indicated that the industry raised corporate equity and debt amounts well in excess of $8 billion.
In terms of individual country performance, there were few surprises. Germany continues to be the overwhelming leading solar products market although Italy and China are not too far behind. Remarkably, the five leading markets: Germany, Italy, China, USA and France represent just slightly less than three quarters of all global installations. China recorded the highest year on year growth, rising from seventh market size to third with a growth that was an amazing 470% of the 2010 levels.
The study shows that European economies are still the most dominant players in the sector, accounting for over 18.7 gigawatts of the capacity installed in 2011. This is currently 68% of the global demand and a comparative reduction taking into account that Europe accounted for 82% of the demand registered in 2010. The strongest growth in Europe was recorded in Italy and France while a year end surge in Germany saw demand for 2011 match the figures recorded in 2010 almost to a fault.
Solarbuzz goes on to make some projections about likely industry developments in the future. These include a fall in factory-gate prices for solar PV modules by between 43% to 53% over the course of the next five years. Over the course of 2012, it is expected that the factory-gate prices of crystalline silicon will be 29% lower than what was recorded through the course of 2011. Demand from North America and Asian markets is also projected to decrease the share taken by Europe to 53% of the global total.
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