PV inverter market leader, SMA Solar Technology is projecting the global PV market will decline in 2011 from last year and stagnate in 2012. The company expects global newly installed capacity to be in the range of 19GW – 21GW in 2011, down from 23GW installed in 2010. In 2012, SMA management projected a moderate growth scenario but noted that it couldn’t rule out stagnation from 2011 estimates.
“The subdued demand can be explained by a number of factors. Firstly, the Euro and debt crisis is unsettling many end customers, so investments in solar power plants are being postponed. Secondly, the banks’ significantly increased refinancing costs are changing the financing structures of large-scale solar projects,” commented Pierre-Pascal Urbon, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of SMA. “The Euro and debt crisis will probably occupy us for another few months. We therefore expect moderate growth of global demand in the coming year. Stagnation can also not be ruled out at this point. In the medium term, photovoltaic energy has good prospects. The trend toward generating electricity with solar power plants in the direct vicinity of the electricity consumer is finding broad social support. In addition, positive development in demand can be seen abroad. Important regions for growth are North America and Japan.”
The forecast is widely acknowledged within the PV industry due to the significant market share SMA holds in the inverter market and insight across residential, commercial and utility-scale markets.
SMA also noted the regional shift in PV installations, which is expected to see the German market flat in 2012 at approximately 5GW installed, about the same expected this year.
The strong growth experienced in Italy over the last few years will fall below 5GW in 2012. However, the North American market, Japan and Asia are all expected to show growth in 2012. The regional shift would also lead to an increase in mid-sized and large-scale installations, according to SMA.