Europe is currently the largest solar PV backsheet market in the world, accounting for 72.1% of global backsheet installed capacity, according to a new report from GlobalData. However, the maturing market and struggling national finances are expected to cause global solar backsheet revenues to fall later this year.
Germany represents the largest market for PV backsheets, registering revenues of approximately $537.7 million in 2011. Germany-based KREMPEL is currently the global leader in backsheet manufacturing, producing between 63 million and 69 million square meters of backsheets in 2011.
Historical market growth can be attributed to an increase in sales resulting from multi-megawatt PV installations in the country, GlobalData says. However, reduced government support and weak investment conditions resulting from the Euro-zone crisis are expected to damage the German PV backsheet market, which is already maturing and perhaps reaching domestic saturation.
Manufacturers, therefore, are looking to expand the export market for PV backsheets, and exponential growth in the Asia-Pacific region has created a sizable potential market. The market in Germany is expected to generate estimated revenues of $65.1 million in 2020.
In Italy, financial instability is predicted to lead solar PV investments into a sharp decline, making project financing a major challenge for solar PV firms. A market recovery from 2013 onwards will be aided by the expiry of registration duties introduced by the government in 2011, and backsheet price reductions will keep market revenues constant, GlobalData says.
Overall, European PV backsheet installed capacity increased from 949 MW in 2006 to 15,491 MW in 2011 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 75%, but capacity is expected to amount to 12,888 MW by 2020 at a negative CAGR of 2%.