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Solarbuzz: global PV market grew 40% in 2011

A new report released today, 2012 Marketbuzz®, found that global PV installations reached a record high 27.4 GW in 2011.

According to NPD Solarbuzz, the market research group responsible for the report, this change is a 40 percent year-on-year increase from 2010.

The report attributed this record growth in part to a rush to complete projects before cuts in solar incentives in Europe and the U.S., and over-production in the first half of the year that pushed prices down. “Cutbacks in polysilicon, wafer, and cell production plans before mid-year will be required to avoid further damaging margin declines,” said Craig Stevens, President of NPD Solarbuzz.

2012 Marketbuzz also found that solar cell production increased to 29.5 GW, up from 23.0 GW in 2010, and the share of thin film declined to only eleven percent of total production. China and Taiwan’s share of cell production increased to 74 percent, up from 63 percent in 2010.

The top five markets for PV – Germany, Italy, China, the U.S., and France – made up 74 percent of global demand, with China’s demand rising by 470 percent year-on-year.

Major PV Country Markets (GW) Credit: NPD Solarbuzz

The report also had the following predictions for the coming years:

Over the next 12 months, the top ten markets will decline to 68 percent of global demand, down from 80 percent last year.

By 2016, European market share is projected to fall below 42% as North America and several Asian markets grow rapidly. China is forecast to reach 17% of the world market by 2016.

A continued decline in prices may have a damaging impact, and the global market faces new challenges this year.

“Aggressive cuts in incentives in Germany and other European countries have set up the potential for a global market decline in 2012, but ahead of these the rush to install is on, especially in Germany,” said Stevens.

“These cuts in tariffs will force companies to embrace self-sustaining marketing models earlier than they expected. Meanwhile, Chinese policy makers will face a decision whether to stimulate their domestic market even more than planned to support their globally dominant manufacturing base.”


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