Global solar photovoltaic installations reached 6.43GW in 2009, an increase of 6% over 2008, according to a new report from Solarbuzz, which was recently acquired by The NPD Group. According to the market research firm, this is a new record for installations and generated US$38 billion in global revenues. The top three countries in Europe were Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic, which accounted for 4.07GW of installations. European countries accounted for 4.75GW of installations or 74% of world demand in 2009. The United States was the third-largest market in 2009, which grew 36% to 485MW, with Japan posting growth of 109% to secure the fourth spot.
“Industry performance in 2009 was remarkable in that it managed to more than fully replace the 2.3GW demand gap caused by the change in policy in Spain,” remarked Craig Stevens, president of Solarbuzz. “Looking forward, the industry will see a return to high growth, but in a low margin environment. Our analysis demonstrates that a wide range of start-up markets will help offset a slowdown in German demand in the second half of 2010.”
According to Solarbuzz, global solar cell production reached a consolidated figure of 9.34GW in 2009, up from 6.85GW in 2008. China and Taiwanese production continued to gain market share, accounting for 49% of global cell production, Solarbuzz said. However, global thin-film production now accounts for 18% of that total.
According to the market research firm, the top seven polysilicon manufacturers had 114,500 tonnes per annum of capacity in 2009, up 92% on their 2008 level, while the top eight wafer manufacturers accounted for 32.9% of global wafer capacity in 2009.
Solarbuzz also said that it expects to PV market to be 2.5 times its current size by 2014, based on a slowest growth scenario, while a ‘production led’ fast growth scenario would see annual industry revenues approach $100 billion by 2014.