Italy to be knocked out of top 3 PV markets

22. August 2012 | Top News, Applications & Installations, Global PV markets, Markets & Trends| By:  Becky Beetz

New figures have revealed that new global photovoltaic installations surpassed 13 GW in the first six months of 2012. In 2H almost 18 GW is expected to be added. For the FY, Germany, China and the U.S. will be the leading markets, while Italy will fall into fourth place.

Greece solar photovoltaic plant thin film

Greece added 285 MW of new photovoltaic capacity in 1H 2012, thus taking cumulative capacity to 724 MW.

Conergy AG

In its latest quarterly report, IMS Research has found that over 13 GW of new photovoltaic capacity has been added in 1H 2012, thus representing growth of 35% over 2011. Leading this development is said to be Germany and the Americas.

Despite the growth seen in Germany, the U.K.-based company believes demand in Europe will shrink by almost 3 GW in 2012, compared to the previous year, while China and the U.S. will be responsible for adding most new capacity.

Specifically, the U.S. is predicted to become the third biggest market in 2012, accounting for 40% of new installations, and increasing cumulative installed capacity to 3.5 GW. “The longer-term outlook for this market is less certain, although the speed at which it is developing so far in 2012 provides some encouragement,” stated PV research director, Ash Sharma.

This means Italy, which was the biggest photovoltaic market in 2011 in terms of newly installed capacity and which knocked Germany off its top spot for the first time, will fall to fourth place, Sharma told pv magazine. As such, he says the top 3 markets in 2012 will be Germany, China and the U.S.

The Americas market, comprised of South and North America, is said to have already added 1.7 GW of new photovoltaic capacity this year, thus representing annual growth of 120%. It is predicted to end 2012 with 4.3 GW of new installations. Sharma continued, “The Americas market, led by the USA was unseasonably strong in the first half and did not show any significant slowdown resulting from the anti-dumping duties.”

Meanwhile, looking at installation figures currently available for other countries, the German Federal Network Agency recently reported that Germany reached a new 1H installation record, having added 4.4 GW of new capacity. In comparison, Greece added just 285 MW, thus taking cumulative capacity to 724 MW. Unfortunately, the government has now taken the decision to halt approvals for new photovoltaic installations and cut funding. According to Enerplan, France has installed 604.7 MW.

“Despite the lackluster financial performance of the industry’s suppliers, underlying demand was robust in the first six months of this year, with first half installations 35 percent up on 2011,” said Sharma.

IMS Research concluded, “Global demand is predicted to accelerate in the second half of 2012, despite the slowing of key European markets, Germany and Italy … driven by markets such as China and Japan, as well as the Americas. China recently approved 1.7 GW of Golden Sun projects which must be completed by the end of the year, whilst Japan’s new FIT became effective on 1st July and will help spark a surge in demand towards the end of 2012.”