SANTA CLARA, USA: Worldwide solar photovoltaic (PV) market installations reached a record high of 27.4 gigawatts (GW) in 2011, up 40 percent Y/Y, according to the annual PV market report, 2012 Marketbuzz issued by NPD Solarbuzz.
Overall market growth in 2011 was boosted by strong second half demand ahead of further deep cuts in solar incentives. This followed a period of over-production in the first half that triggered the sustained price decline through the PV chain that came to characterize 2011. The dominance of Chinese manufacturers in crystalline silicon wafers, cells and modules grew, the share of thin film declined, and demand in Asian markets grew rapidly.
The PV industry generated $93 billion in global revenues in 2011, up 12 percent Y/Y, while the industry successfully raised more than $8 billion in corporate equity and debt.
Of the more than 100 countries worldwide covered in Marketbuzz, the top five PV markets were Germany, Italy, China, the United States, and France—74 percent of global demand in 2011. China soared 470 percent Y/Y, rising to third place from seventh in 2010.
European countries accounted for 18.7 GW, or 68 percent of world demand in 2011, down from 82 percent in 2010. Strong growth in France and Italy, combined with a year-end surge in German demand that held it flat Y/Y, meant that Germany, Italy and France collectively accounted for 82 percent of the European market.Source: NPD Solarbuzz, USA.
Worldwide solar cell production reached 29.5 GW in 2011, up from 23 GW a year earlier, with thin film production accounting for 11 percent of total production. Production from China and Taiwan accounted for 74 percent of global cell production, up from 63 percent in the prior year.
The Top 10 polysilicon manufacturers had 204K metric tons per annum of capacity in 2011, while the Top 10 wafer manufacturers accounted for 44 percent of global capacity.
The excess of solar cell production over demand during 1H’11 caused market-weighted average crystalline silicon factory-gate module prices to drop 28 percent in 2011, significantly more than the 14 percent drop the previous year. Furthermore, Q4’11 versus Q4’10 prices were down 46 percent.
Over the next five years, factory-gate module prices are projected to drop between 43 percent and 53 percent from 2011 levels. Average c-Si factory-gate prices in 2012 will be at least 29 percent lower than the 2011 average.
Over the next 12 months, the Rest of World markets are projected to increase to 32 percent of global demand, from just 20 percent last year, while Europe loses share, dropping to 53 percent. By 2016, European market share is projected to fall below 42 percent as North America and several Asian markets grow rapidly. China is forecast to reach 17 percent of the world market by 2016.
“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 Craig Stevens, president, NPD Solarbuzz. “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.”
Stevens added: “Cutbacks in polysilicon, wafer, and cell production plans before mid-year will be required to avoid further damaging margin declines. Meanwhile, it is significant that polysilicon manufacturing capacity‑long the most constrained and profitable part of the PV chain‑now has the highest capacity in the PV chain.”