According to the solar energy consultancy, Europe accounted for 82% of world demand in 2008. Spain's 285% growth pushed Germany into second place in the market ranking, while the USA advanced to number three. Rapid growth in Korea made it the fourth largest market in 2008, closely followed by Italy and Japan.
World solar cell production reached a consolidated figure of 6.85 GW in 2008, up from 3.44 GW a year earlier. China and Taiwan increased their share of global solar cell production to 44% in 2008, rising from 35% in 2007. Meanwhile, thin-film production grew 123% to 0.89 GW.
Polysilicon supply to the solar industry grew by 127% in MW terms, sufficient to substantially ease supply limitations in 2008.
The solar PV industry generated US$37.1 billion in global revenues in 2008, while successfully raising over US$12.5bn in equity and debt, up 11% on the prior year.
"Twelve months ago, we projected that as early as the fourth quarter of 2008 the PV industry would no longer be constrained by solar module supply, but instead by market demand," says Craig Stevens, President of Solarbuzz LLC. "Now, the PV industry will need to navigate major changes in the regional demand mix, with new markets emerging, while addressing excess supply positions and significant adjustments to industry pricing."