By Kari Williamson
In the first half of 2010, the Italian solar PV market volume was almost three times that of Germany, and Italy could become the number one solar PV market in 2011 in terms of new installations, SolarPlaza says.
In 2010 Germany was still the largest solar PV market with almost 8 GW of new installations, accounting for around half of the world's market. However, Italy could take Germany's place in 2011.
So far in 2011, Germany has cut its solar feed-in tariff by 13% and the market volume has fallen 40% compared to the same period in 2010. Germany still leads in terms of cumulative capacity, but SolarPlaza predicts that countries such as Italy could overtake Germany's position there as well in a two-three year time frame.
There are other shifts among the top 10 solar PV markets as well with the Czech Republic expected to drop off the top 10 list following drastic cuts in solar incentives. Japan, however, is expected to become more important as the country has increased its focus on solar PV following the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
Sunny countries taking the lead
As solar PV module prices have fallen around 60% over the last three years, solar could soon be competitive in sunny countries such as India, the USA, the Middle East and China.
India has introduced a National Solar Mission and China recently announced a feed-in tariff programme.
Several new markets are also developing such as the Philippines, Israel, Canada and South Africa.