Top Stories 2008 - Market Watch – a year of growth and change


The PV industry has had another explosive growth year in 2008. As is often the case, news in only the last few months of the year have painted the perception that things are turning for the worse as the credit crunch manifested in the U.S. turns into a global economic recession, impacting the growth in the PV sector along the way.

When reviewing the top news stories within the ‘Market Watch’ section, it was pleasing to see that there was a balanced mix between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ news that generated the most traffic.

With the economic crisis gaining momentum in September 2008, our coverage of a market research report from Lux Research in early October highlighted that the industry was on the verge of a period of module overcapacity leading to falling ASPs that would wipe out many smaller module manufacturers in 2009.

Since then, we have seen many PV manufacturers lower revenue and production guidance as well as announce shutdowns for extended periods over the holiday period (Q-Cells, for example). Worse still is the hazy news coming out of China that many small module manufacturers have closed shop and laid off workers as demand falls due to the lack of project finance that is an important aspect of the larger-scale PV installations.

However, Lux Research noted that the PV industry is still expected to grow 48% per annum through 2013, and reaching 23GW, compared to 4.9GW in 2008. Another positive, perhaps lost in the recent noise surrounding Q-Cells’ revised guidance, was the fact that it still expects revenues to grow by 40% plus in 2009, while almost doubling capacity to meet demand.

In November 2008, we covered news from market research firm iSuppli Corp., which noted that polysilicon prices were heading significantly south in 2009, to perhaps as low as US$100 per kilogram (spot price) as overcapacity looms large. In recent weeks, MEMC, for example, has lowered revenue projections, while polysilicon users rush to renegotiate contract prices, cancel orders and make revisions to delivery schedules, further impacting the polysilicon supply chain.

As polysilicon spot market prices topped US$500 per kilogram in 3Q08, the emergence of thin-film manufacturing this year is no coincidence. A report from the Prometheus Institute proved very popular as the thin-film market was projected to reach 40% of worldwide photovoltaic production by 2012.

A shock piece of news that caught many by surprise (including myself) was the expected establishment of a UK feed-in tariff for renewable energies. Early days yet for the UK but it does reflect developments finally taking shape in other EU countries such as Italy, France and Greece that will become significant new markets for PV through 2015 under variously structured incentives.


29 November 2022
PV ModuleTech EMEA in Malaga on 29-30 November 2022 will address the factors underpinning the changing PV module landscape, gathering together all the key stakeholders across the value-chain from module production to field testing. Join us for presentations from the leading players in the sector, clearly identifying the opportunities and challenges set to impact module supply to Europe and the Middle-East over the next few years.
7 December 2022
Intersolar is the world’s leading exhibition & conference series for the solar industry. As part of this event series, Intersolar India in Gujarat is India’s most pioneering exhibition and conference for India’s solar industry. It takes place annually and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. Since 2019, Intersolar India is held under the umbrella of The smarter E India – India’s innovation hub for the new energy world.
14 February 2023
Intersolar North America (ISNA) and Energy Storage North America (ESNA) is the premier US-based conference and trade show focused on solar, energy storage, and EV charging infrastructure. Dedicated to accelerating the energy transition, the combined event delivers actionable education, invaluable networking, and an immersive expo hall experience.
22 February 2023
After a record breaking year at the Energy Storage Summit, join us next year at the 8th edition in 2023 where we are expanding in line with the increased opportunity across the renewable sector. As we see this continued growth of the industry through change in government policy, increased capital and a need for grid resilience in geographies with high renewable penetration, can the necessary scale be met across the value chain in order to meet net-zero goals in Europe? We will gather industry leaders across the sector to discuss a range of vital topics including the most lucrative markets for storage and what the best route to market strategy is for your storage asset, changes needed in policy and infrastructure, as well as the effects of the supply crisis, disruptive technologies and much more.
14 March 2023
PV CellTech will be return to Berlin on 14-15 March 2023 and looking at the competing technologies and roadmaps for PV cell mass production during 2024-2026.
21 March 2023
Large Scale Solar Summit is the meeting place for European solar developers, EPCs and IPPs. Designed to look into ground-mount PV, solar + storage, green hydrogen, floating solar and large scale commercial rooftop. With around 300 attendees expected, this is the place to exchange ideas and knowledge, expand your network and win new business.

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