Global photovoltaic installations hit 24 GW in 2011

Wellingborough, U.K., November 15 2011 — Global solar photovoltaic installations will reach 24 GW in 2011 according to a new report from IMS Research. The report found that despite the relatively weak start to the year, installations would rise by 24 percent in 2011 to reach 24 GW, up from 19 GW in 2010.

The research also revealed that European installations will rise by just 3 percent this year and that Italy will displace Germany as the world’s largest market.

IMS Research’s recently released Q4’11 PV Demand Database shows that installations exceeded 8 GW in the first half of 2011 and will reach 15 GW in the second half confirming the market analyst firm’s prediction earlier in the year that installations would soar in 2H.

However, although installations have grown considerably, this has not necessarily translated into a surge in demand for PV components because of high inventory levels.

“Despite installations in the second half of the year being almost double those in the first half, most suppliers didn’t see any considerable uptick in orders. This is simply as a result of the high inventory levels in the channel, with customers installing previously purchased modules and inverters”, explained Ash Sharma, Senior Research Director for Photovoltaics.

Earlier in the year, IMS Research revealed how module inventory stood at a huge 10 GW, whilst inverter inventory was at an unusually high level of 6 GW.

The new report also highlights that the true size of the market in 2011 is contentious, depending on what is considered the size of the Italian market in 2010. Whilst IMS Research measures PV demand when a system is installed, other methods often consider connections, registrations or approvals leading to different market sizes.

Despite a freeze and then cuts to its incentives earlier this year, Italy is forecast to become the world’s largest market in 2011 for the first time; and install 6.8 GW of new capacity.

Yet despite the strong performance of the Italian market, Europe is set for another underwhelming performance this year; with installations growing by just 3 percent because of falls in Germany and the Czech Republic and slow-downs elsewhere.

IMS Research found that though Europe is stagnating, the American and Asian markets are performing well; these two regions will generate 85 percent of the global growth in installations in 2011. Furthermore, the research found that this trend is forecast to continue into 2012, when Europe’s share of new installations will fall to 50 percent.

The report’s updated rankings also reveals that whilst the research firm maintains its earlier prediction that only four of the top 10 markets in 2011 will be European, it now forecasts that the U.K. will be one of those.

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