In the latest edition of its QUARTERLY Report, Solarbuzz has raised its 2010 market size to 15.2 GW which compares with a revised 7.5 GW in 2009. Specifically, the last three quarters of 2010 are projected to generate 12.7 GW of demand, driven by strong growth across Europe, but also in United States, Japan, China and a range of smaller start-up markets.
German market demand incorporates substantial volatility in quarter-on-quarter performance during 2010. This takes account of the uncertainty of policy adjustments in Germany that are planned for 1 July and also January 2011.
A 2010 market size of 8 GW in Germany is now in prospect, even taking account of a drop off in demand in Q3 2010, predicts the update.
"Despite much uncertainty over policy outcomes, [challenging economics]...the PV industry is once again demonstrating [that] consumers respond to supportive government policies," said Craig Stevens, President of Solarbuzz. "The growth in demand is a response to major cuts in price levels afforded by lower manufacturing costs. As a result, module and inverter supply is just barely keeping up with demand."
Preliminary data on global industry revenues shows a drop of 40% to just over US$12 billion in first quarter 2010, which was nearly four times the level of one year earlier.
Selected price rises late in Q2 2010 have been seen from some Chinese manufacturers supplying to Europe. These moves helped to partially offset the decline in the Euro over second quarter 2010. Within the PV chain, wafer prices have tightened in both euro and dollar terms, while cell prices have tightened in euro terms only over the past 6 months.
Additional highlights from Solarbuzz QUARTERLY include:
- Estimated upstream inventory days remain flat from end Q1 to end Q2 2010, whereas downstream days fall to one third of their end Q1 level;
- In Q1 2010, there was a sharp rise in cell capacity utilization, with many of the market leaders in practice working at full capacity during second quarter;
- Among the leading cell manufacturers, Sharp took a clear number 1 global position in first quarter 2010, measured on total revenues. In a close number 2 and 3 position were Suntech Power and First Solar. First Solar retained first place in MW production terms;
- Asian manufacturers exhibit steady quarter on quarter gross margin improvements, testimony to their success at bringing down unit costs.