Worldwide solar photovoltaic market installations reached a record high of 18.2 GW in 2010, according to a new report issued by solar energy consultancy Solarbuzz. This figure represents a growth of 139% over the previous year.
The PV industry generated $82 billion in global revenues in 2010, up 105% year over year from $40 billion in 2009. Companies throughout the PV chain successfully raised more than $10 billion in equity and debt over the last 12 months.
In 2010, the top five countries by PV market size were Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Japan and the U.S. – representing over 80% of global demand. European countries represented 14.7 GW, or 81% of world demand in 2010, the report says.
The top three countries in Europe were Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic, which collectively totaled 12.9 GW. In 2010, the Japanese and U.S. markets grew by 101% and 96%, respectively. In all, over 100 countries made some contribution to soaring global PV demand last year.
Worldwide solar cell production reached 20.5 GW in 2010, up from 9.86 GW a year earlier, with thin film production accounting for 13.5% of total production. Producers in China and Taiwan continued to build share and now account for 59% of global cell production, up from 49% last year, according to Solarbuzz. The top two cell manufacturers in 2010 were Suntech Power and JA Solar, which tied for the first position, followed closely by JA Solar and First Solar.
The top eight polysilicon manufacturers had 145,200 tonnes per annum of capacity in 2010, while the top eight wafer manufacturers accounted for 45% of global wafer supply. The excess of production over market demand caused crystalline silicon factory gate module prices to drop 14% in 2010, significantly less than the 38% reduction of the previous year, the report notes.
By 2015, Solarbuzz projects the European market share will fall to between 45% and 54% as the North American and several Asian markets grow rapidly. The U.S. will be the fastest-growing major country market over this period. Over the next five years, factory gate module prices are projected to drop between 37% and 50% from 2010 levels.