Ingmar Wilhelm ? Enel Green Power – is the new President of EPIA

Ingmar Wilhelm, Executive Vice President of Enel Green Power, is the new president of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). The election took place on March 18 in Rome, at the annual General Assembly of the Association.

EPIA is the largest photovoltaic association in the world: its over 200 members represent approximately 95% of the photovoltaic industry in Europe and 80% worldwide.

Having graduated in electrical engineering at the Technical University RWTH Aachen, in Germany, with a specialization in Energy Economics, Ingmar Wilhelm joined Enel in 2003, becoming Head of power production and trading in Europe. He subsequently managed sales, marketing and supply of power and gas in the liberalized Italian market, with responsibility for a portfolio of over 5 million customers, before becoming Executive Vice President of Enel Green Power.

Solar PV market hits 43 GW record in 2009

Solar photovoltaic installations has achieved record high of 6.43 GW in 2009—a 6 percent y-on-y growth, according to the latest Marketbuzz 2010 Report from Solarbuzz, an international solar energy market research and consulting company, and a division of The NPD Group. In addition, the company reported that the PV industry generated $38 billion in global revenues in 2009, while successfully raising more than $13.5 billion in equity and debt, up 8 percent on the prior year.

According to the company’s Marketbuzz 2010 Report, European countries accounted for 4.75 GW, or 74 percent of world demand in 2009. The top three countries in Europe were Germany, Italy and Czech Republic, which collectively accounted for 4.07 GW. All three countries experienced soaring demand with Italy becoming the second largest market in the world. In contrast, Spain demand in 2009 collapsed to just 4 percent of its prior year level. The third largest market in the world was the United States, which grew 36 percent to 485 MW. Following closely behind was a rejuvenated Japan, ranked fourth and growing 109 percent y-on-y.

Worldwide solar cell production reached a consolidated figure of 9.34 GW in 2009, up from 6.85GW a year earlier, with thin film production accounting for 18 percent of that total. China and Taiwan production continued to build share and now accounts for 49 percent of global cell production. Of total European demand, net cell imports accounted for 74 percent of the total.

The top seven polysilicon manufacturers had 114,500 tons per annum of capacity in 2009, up 92 percent y-on-y, while the top eight wafer manufacturers accounted for 32.9 percent of global wafer capacity in 2009.

Solar cell production exceeding the market demand caused the weighted crystalline silicon module price average for 2009 to crash 38 percent from the prior year level. This reduction in crystalline silicon prices also had the effect of eroding their percentage premium to thin film factory gate pricing.

Looking forward, the industry will return to high growth in 2010 and over the next five years. Even in the slowest growth scenario, the global market will be 2.5x its current size by 2014. Using the fastest growth forecast, annual industry revenues would approach $100 billion by 2014.

"Industry performance in 2009 was remarkable in that it managed to more than fully replace the 2.3 GW 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."

Record Quarterly Global Photovoltaic Demand of 4 GW in Second Quarter 2010

The fourth quarter 2009 PV market reached a record high, at 2.9 GW – 453% times larger than first quarter 2009 following a massive rise in European demand through the year. The end market ramp up was driven principally by Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic. Germany alone accounted for 52% of the global demand in the quarter.

Among industry leaders, Sharp, SunPower Corporation, First Solar and Suntech Power all generated solar revenues in excess of $500 million (equivalent) in the fourth quarter.

However, preliminary estimates show average solar cell manufacturer gross margins of 8% in fourth quarter 2009, down from 15% one year earlier.

Meanwhile, wafer, cell and module capacity utilization grew in fourth quarter 2009, while polysilicon held steady and thin film dropped.

The photovoltaic world market is now projected to maintain this upward trend, reaching a new quarterly peak of 4.0 GW in Q2 2010. This early-year strength will create a period of relative pricing stability. Crystalline silicon module factory-gate prices – having fallen 22% between first and fourth quarter 2009 after the decline of the Spanish market at the end of 2008 – are projected to remain flat in Europe through most of second quarter 2010.

Over the outlook period, module production is projected to rise 7% in first quarter and a further 19% in second quarter 2010. Thin film production will account for 17% of global shipments in first half of 2010.

By mid-2010, module manufacturers’ inventories will hold close to steady from the start of the year, while downstream (distribution and installation) inventories are projected to decline by 26 days over the same period. However, once the German policy adjustments are implemented in the second half of 2010, corporate outcomes will become dependent both on the discipline of the downstream to manage inventories and the manufacturers to manage production levels.

"The data demonstrates clearly that managing quarterly corporate performance in 2010 will be even more challenging than it has been over the past two years – a period that proved to be a roller coaster ride for sales revenues and profitability," said Craig Stevens, President of Solarbuzz, a division of The NPD Group. "In the event that production is not moderated in the second half of the year, the outcome will be a return to more price disruption. However, unlike 2009, there will be significant consequences for high cost producers."

The full PV industry picture is revealed in the new Solarbuzz® QUARTERLY report issued today. It provides a concise quarterly analysis of the key PV industry data including regional market demand, module production and shipments, upstream and downstream module inventories, factory gate pricing and gross margins through 2009. It also summarizes the market and policy developments over the last quarter, and provides insight into supply/demand projections through to Q2 2010.