SAN FRANCISCO, USA: According to the new Solarbuzz QUARTERLY report launched today, Solarbuzz LLC forecasts that the global solar photovoltaic (PV) market will reach 6.37 GW in 2009. This represents growth of 5 percent on last year.
* European demand will account for 71 percent of the global PV market, as Germany replaces Spain as the largest market. Germany's third quarter 2009 demand of 980 MW is projected to rise to 1680 MW in fourth quarter, an increase of 71.4 percent. This corresponds to a total 2009 market size of 3.2 GW.
* Italy, Belgium, France and the Czech Republic together accounted for 277 MW in third quarter 2009. This helped deliver a total European demand of 1.3 GW in the third quarter of 2009, forecast to rise by 63 percent to 2.2 GW in the fourth quarter.
* Third quarter demand in North America was up 26 percent on second quarter. For the year, the North American market will increase 54 percent over 2008 accounting for 556 MW of installations in 2009, or 9% of the world market.
Global end-market PV industry revenues were $11.2 bn in third quarter 2009, up 62 percent on second quarter.
"The continuation of uninterrupted PV market growth year on year hides huge changes in the distribution of country market demand in Europe. Policy adjustment in Spain removed 42 percent of the global PV market in the fourth quarter of 2008 and it took until the middle of 2009 for the powerful engine of the German market to replace that lost contribution, and to now exceed it," said Craig Stevens, President of Solarbuzz LLC.
"This had the effect of massively realigning economics through the PV chain during the past year, while also setting enormous commercial challenges for companies operating within it.
He added: "However, after adjusting to the new global low pricing environment, the market data confirms that the PV industry is now delivering substantial growth in the second half of 2009. What is more, the outlook for the first quarter 2010 demonstrates a distinct change from the first quarter in past years, when seasonal factors have typically caused a sharp decrease."
On the supply side, crystalline silicon manufacturing capacity utilization increased through each part of the PV chain in the third quarter. Thin film capacity utilization, on the other hand, dropped in the third quarter.
Third quarter total module production (including thin films) was up 27 percent on the second quarter. Total module inventories had increased by 15 percent at the end of third quarter, although module inventory days (including crystalline silicon and thin film product) declined by nine days.
The first edition of Solarbuzz QUARTERLY covers the period third quarter 2008 to third quarter 2009 of PV industry performance. It then goes on to offer data visibility for market demand, production, shipments, capacity utilization, module inventories, gross and net margins for fourth quarter 2009 and first quarter 2010.
This forecast is set against a backdrop of stronger than usual winter demand in the key European market, supplemented by large project demand from outside Europe. Nonetheless, there will be continuing price pressure in the first quarter 2010 as inventories build moderately over end-2009 levels.
"Our goal to provide integrated PV supply/demand data by quarter has long been in our plans," continued Stevens. "After nine years of establishing Solarbuzz as a leading source of annual data for this industry, we were confident that reliable quarterly PV industry data was within our reach. The new Solarbuzz QUARTERLY report is the outcome of this year-long initiative."