According to the latest report from Solarbuzz, Germany remains market leader in the European solar photovoltaic sector, despite feed-in tariff cuts and module pricing adjustments. The German PV market reached 3.87GW in 2009, while Italy came in second place with 770MW and the Czech Republic, France and Belgium combined to add 933MW of newly installed capacity.
Even though Germany came out on top in 2009, with a recorded 109% growth, Solarbuzz reports that this expansion could have been even larger if not for the shortage of inverters that has curbed the market since the September of that year.
Growth of the total European market was just 16% in 2009, while growth excluding Spain was 126%. This figure highlights the vulnerability of the overall market to policy review in the larger markets balanced against the growth of emerging markets, claims Solarbuzz.
“The PV industry has gone from boom to bust and back to boom within a cycle of less than two years from the downturn in Spain late in 2008 to the current surge in Germany. On that basis, few would project stability over the next five years. The fundamental problem is the continued dependence of the industry on market incentives. Increasingly, their cost is becoming a ‘political hot potato’ when programs overshoot their planned scale,” claimed the report.
Current forecasts indicate that the German market could be subdued over the 2011-12 period as a result of the feed-in tariff cuts, yet “there remains upside potential in Germany 2011,” concludes Solarbuzz.
Figure 1: 2009 Europe PV Market Size by Country (MW)
Source: Solarbuzz Europe PV Markets 2010