An annual survey of cell manufacturers published in the March 2011 issue of Photon International highlights a significant increase in solar cell production that could result in new capacity growing by 80% in 2011 and roughly reach a global capacity of 67GW. This comes on the back of reported cell production figures reaching 27.2GW in 2010, up 118%, compared with 12.5GW produced in 2009.
“All that's needed to quickly increase the share of solar power in the global energy mix is modest and sustainable funding levels,” noted Michael Schmela, editor-in-chief of Photon International. “Today, large utility-scale PV power plants can already generate electricity at around 15 euro cents per kWh in Germany – the level of offshore wind power feed-in tariffs. In Southern Italy, tariffs of only around 12 euro cents per kWh are needed for large-scale PV systems, rather than the 33 euro cents paid today.”
According to the publication, the 27.2GW of PV cells produced in 2010, are approximately equal to 27 typical nuclear reactors. The PV electricity generated annually by these cells would be around 27TWh, or 27 billionkWh.
“As governments rethink their energy supply strategies in light of the terrible Fukushima nuclear plant accident, they have to look beyond gas and wind, making sure that they integrate solar power in their alternative scenario as well,” added Schmela.
A total of 199 companies were listed in the survey, though the publication noted in the printed report that duplication, due to outsourcing had been identified after data collection but company data had been further scrutinised to reduce duplication in the final report, which includes c-Si and thin-film cell producers.