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German solar PV market reaches 4.8 GW this year

Registered solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in Germany have reached 4.8 GW in the first 8 months of 2010, up 327% on the same period last year, according to IMS Research.

IMS Research, which last month predicted global solar PV installations in 2010 would exceed 16 GW, estimates that Germany accounted for 48% of global solar PV demand in the first three quarters of 2010 – up from 40% for the same period in 2009, driven by the cuts in the feed-in tariff.

Small commercial solar PV systems up to 100 kW in size have led demand and accounted for more than 2.6 GW, 280% higher than the same period in 2009. Residential solar PV installations are estimated to have grown year-on-year by 140% and large commercial systems by almost 500%.

PV Research Director, Ash Sharma, says: “Germany added more than 3 GW of new PV capacity in the second quarter alone, which is a tremendous result given it added ‘only’ 3.8 GW in the whole of 2009. High demand has been seen from almost every part of the German market and these results up to August solidify our prediction that the German market could reach up to 8 GW in 2010, and the global market more than 16 GW.”

Uncertainty still looms over 2011, however: “A large FiT cut is inevitable in Germany in 2012, which will likely drive big demand for PV systems in 2011. However, with only a single cut currently planned at the end of 2011, it is likely the market will cool considerably in Q1 2011. With production capacity being massively ramped up, it is very possible that this overcapacity will lead to big falls in prices through the supply chain. This could delay buying, and result in market revenues and margins indeed falling next year,” Sharma adds.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets