Global Photovoltaic Solar Energy Shipments to Reach 30 GW in 2015

Global solar photovoltaic (PV) module shipments are forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7% from 2010 to 2015 according to IDC Energy Insights’ Worldwide Quarterly Photovoltaic Module Tracker. With expectations of significant growth in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and the United States, PV module shipments will reach 30 GW in 2015 with an estimated market value of $330 billion.

Shipments of PV modules experienced explosive growth in 2010, increasing by nearly 160% over 2009 to 21.6GW. After the first quarter of 2011 (1Q11) opened the year with a sequential decline compared to the fourth quarter of 2010, PV shipments began to rebound in 2Q11, increasing more than 42% over the previous quarter and registering a year-over-year decline of just 9% from 2Q10. The global PV industry appears to have stabilized and should be relatively flat in 2011 as compared to a record year in 2010. Recent changes to the Feed in Tariff (FiT) in Italy combined with aggressive targets in India and China will change the face of the PV industry in coming years.

"The market outlook for photovoltaics in the first quarter of 2011 was rather dismal," says Ryan Reith, program manager, IDC Energy Insights Tracker products. "Recent changes to FiTs in China and Italy, as well as revised renewable energy targets in a number of prosperous markets, have now given us higher hopes for solar growth in 2013 and beyond."

Dean Chuang, senior research analyst, adds "Japan, China, and India have all recently revamped their solar incentive systems, providing a much needed source of stable growth to supplement the steady German market. The Ontario market remains strong in North America, and, while an extension of the Section 1603 tax grant program in the U.S. appears unlikely in the current political climate, property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs may return to supplement existing state and local incentive programs."

According to IDC Energy Insights data, in 2010 PV shipments to the Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and United States markets accounted for 9.3% and 5.8% respectively. In 2015, the same markets are expected to grow to 25.6% and 17.5%, creating new opportunity for PV vendors while shifting focus away from European markets that drove shipments in 2010.