New analysis suggests that the surging PV market will withstand public budget restraints and the weakening of the euro in currency markets to continue its expansion into 2011, with over 19 GW of installations, before softening only slightly in 2012.
Consensus is now growing that at least 15 GW of PV systems will be installed globally in 2010, up from 7.2 GW in 2009.
Transparent project pipelines, emerging clarity on feed-in tariff (FIT) clarity, and overflowing advance order books for suppliers are conspiring to make this a reasonable possibility, iSuppli for example is forecasting a 15.7 GW market this year.
However, debate over how 2011 will shape up for the industry is rife, with questions raging over possible market dips in Germany and Italy as FIT cuts take effect. But analysis suggests this will not be the case, with aggressive growth in both set to continue.
A notable drop-out during 2011 is likely to be the Czech Republic, where new installations are set to plunge from the gigawatt level to just one fifth of that. After introducing a moratorium on grid connections in 2010, the government in September said it would reduce FITs for ground installations and restrict funding to systems of 500 kW or less from March 2011.
Price Cuts Set to Keep Projects Attractive
Concerns over the PV market next year reflect several considerations. Public budget problems seen in Greece could also affect Spain and Italy, and potentially dull the appetite for higher FITs, while the weakening of the euro against the Chinese yuan, which is itself linked to the US dollar, could also push up the prices of modules and other system components.
But these risks could be mitigated by a further drop in system installation prices, with a price drop of at least 10% on average in Europe predicted, continuing a long-term trend.
It is also believed that the French government will not reduce its FIT by more than 20% in 2011, following the policy revision in Italy, where cuts of 10%-27%, depending on segment, were agreed in August 2010.
In France, speculation concerning future PV regulations are becoming something of a source of derision. In September the country's environment ministerJean-Louis Borloo said that France could reach 5 GW in 2011 and quadruple its 2020 targets. However, Christine Lagarde, the industry and economy minister, interpreted the 2010 dynamics the other way round, saying: "A large part of our 2020 goals have been achieved — we can reduce our efforts."
In September iSuppli revised down its installation forecast for France from 1080 MW to 700 MW.