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Photovoltaic Demand Soars; Added Capacity Breaks Gigawatt Barrier
Oct 12, 2010
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Quarterly photovoltaic cell manufacturing capacity added during the third quarter of 2010 broke the gigawatt barrier for the first time, with 1.12 GW of quarterly capacity brought online during the quarter according to Solarbuzz. The market research firm, in its latest PV Equipment Quarterly report, said manufacturing equipment spending posted record returns, with c-Si (crystalline silicon) ingot-to-module and thin-film panel spending in excess of $2.9 billion. Strong c-Si cell and thin-film panel expansion was forecast to continue through the fourth quarter of 2010 with another 1.3 GW of quarterly ramped capacity projected to come online.

“Chinese and Taiwanese c-Si cell manufacturers are expanding at an unprecedented rate, stimulated by record levels of downstream demand through 2010,” said Finlay Colville, senior analyst at Solarbuzz.

RESIDENTIAL SOLAR MARKET

Germany remained the country with the world's largest PV installed base in 2009. In earlier reports this year, the market research firm estimated the 2009 German market grew 109% to 3.87 GW, 13% of which was private residential photovoltaic (PV) systems. With 770 MW newly installed capacity, Italy became the world’s second largest PV market. Growth in Europe as a whole – excluding Spain, where the removal of national incentives in 2008 resulted in a drastic drop in the market – was 126% in 2009.

The market research firm put the 2009 Japanese residential PV market at 477 MW (more than double 2008, thanks to national incentive programs).

The firm said the market in Australia was driven by residential demand in 2009, reporting that the market grew 222% year-on-year to 74 MW, again driven largely by government programs.

The United States remained the third largest PV market n 2009, and in a June 2009 report Solarbuzz said price cuts in residential installations provided the foundation for steady growth across the United States. But with no national policy, the market in the U.S. grew just 36% in 2009, down from 62% growth in 2008. More than half – 53% - of the on-grid installations in 2009 were in the State of California, which does provide incentives.

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