World Solar Power Photovoltaic Market Grew to 18.2 Gigawatts in 2010

Global solar photovoltaic (PV) market installations reached a record high of 18.2 GW in 2010, a growth of 139 percent over the previous year, according to an annual PV market report.

The report, Marketbuzz 2011, issued by Solarbuzz, a part of The NPD Group, also said that the PV industry generated $82 billion in global revenues in 2010, up 105 percent from $40 billion in 2009. PV companies raised more than $10 billion in equity and debt over the past year, the report said.

The U.S. ranked fifth in worldwide PV market size in 2010 and Germany took the top spot, followed by Italy, Czech Republic and Japan. The U.S. market grew by 96 percent.

Solar cell production around the world reached 20.5 GW in 2010, up from 9.86 GW the previous year, with thin film production accounting for 13.5 percent of total production. Producers in China and Taiwan continued to build share, and now account for 59 percent of global cell production, up from 49 percent last year. The top two cell manufacturers in 2010 were Suntech Power and JA Solar, who tied for the first position, followed by First Solar, Q-Cells and Motech Industries.

By 2015, Solarbuzz projects the European market share to fall to between 45-54 percent as North America and several Asian markets grow rapidly. The US will be the fastest growing major country market over this period.