With the photovoltaic industry growing at a compound annual growth rate
of 40 percent through 2010, iSuppli Corp. is projecting that the global
production of PV cells will reach 12GW by 2010, up from 3.5GW in 2007.
To reach that figure, as many as 400 production lines with at least 1MW
of PV cell production per year will be established, a four-fold
increase from about 90 to 100 production lines in existence at the end
of 2007, iSuppli said. Importantly, iSuppli sees the number of 1GW
scale fabs to grow as part of the photovoltaic industry’s cost
“The market for PV cells is estimated to grow by 40 percent annually until 2010, and 20 percent beyond,” said Dr. Henning Wicht, Senior Director and Principal Analyst, MEMS and photovoltaics, for iSuppli. “Nearly all market participants plan to increase their sales by a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 40 to 50 percent during the next few years.”
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The need for a four-fold increase in the number of production facilities will require PV manufacturers to spend an average of $500 million or more on each facility. The result will be the need for as many as 1,000 employees per facility. Annual revenues per fab will top $1 billion, according to Dr. Wicht.
He noted that at this level of capacity expansion and fab investment through 2010, the photovoltaic industry will be on par with the semiconductor industry in that timeframe. The semiconductor industry is widely noted as a heavy investor in fabrication facilities and in the technology sector in general.
Constant cost reductions in the PV industry will see grid parity reached in 2012 for regions with high levels of sunshine and in areas of medium sun exposure, grid parity is projected in 2018, iSuppli said.