Global solar photovoltaic market grew to 27.4 GW in 2011: NPD Solarbuzz

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Global solar photovoltaic market grew to 27.4 GW in 2011: NPD Solarbuzz

By Greentech Lead Team America: Worldwide solar
photovoltaic (PV) market installations reached a record high of 27.4 gigawatts
(GW) in 2011, up 40 percent Y/Y, according to NPD Solarbuzz. 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.

Worldwide solar cell production reached 29.5 GW in 2011,
up from 23.0 GW a year earlier, with thin film production accounting for 11
percent of total production.

Overall market growth in 2011 was driven 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 contribution of Chinese manufacturers in crystalline
silicon wafers, cells and modules grew. The share of thin film declined and the
production from China and Taiwan accounted for 74 percent of global cell
production, up from 63 percent in the prior year.

In 2011, the top five PV markets were Germany, Italy,
China, the United States, and France. These countries accounted a 74 percent of
global demand. China significantly increased its market share, raised from the
seventh place to third place.   

European countries accounted for 18.7 GW, or 68 percent
of world demand in 2011, down from 82 percent in 2010. Germany, Italy and
France collectively accounted for 82 percent of the European market. The demand
in Asian markets also grew rapidly in 2011.

Top 10 polysilicon manufacturers had 204K metric tons per
annum of capacity in 2011, while the Top 10 wafer manufacturers accounted for
20.7 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.

NPD Solarbuzz forecasts that 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 of NPD Solarbuzz.

“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,” Stevens added.

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