Value of worldwide PV module shipments to surpass $3.7 billion by 2006

July 17, 2002 — The stimulus for photovoltaic (PV) technology began more than 25 years ago in response to the oil crisis of the 1970s. Major programs were started in the United States, Japan, Europe and other countries.

Ongoing environmental concerns were also a driving force in the development of a clean, renewable, non-polluting source of energy. A positive force from that time period was increased funding for renewable and alternative energy sources such as solar water heating, solar thermal systems and photovoltaics cells, modules and arrays that could rely on the sun to provide energy.

According to a soon-to-be-released updated study from Business Communications Company, Inc. RE-038U Photovoltaics: Markets and Technologies, the total shipments of photovoltaic (PV) modules reached 393.8 megawatts in 2001. They are projected to grow by an AAGR (average annual growth rate) of 21% and reach 1,021.5 megawatts by 2006.

Silicon technology is expected to dominate the PV market throughout the forecast period. Polycrystalline silicon will represent the highest volume PV technology with shipments projected to grow at an AAGR of 20.6% to reach 450.8 megawatts by 2006.

Single crystal silicon shipments amounted to 161.5 megawatts in 2001 and are projected to reach 398.4 megawatts by 2006. Shipments of silicon film deposited on more flexible substrates amounted to 7.5 megawatts in 2001 but will grow at an AAGR of 21.2% to reach 19.5 megawatts by 2006.

Thin films, long heralded as less expensive and more efficient, will finally exhibit significant growth during this five year forecast period. Collectively, shipments of amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, copper indium diselenide and gallium arsenide amounted to 47.3 megawatts in 2001.

They are projected to reach 152.8 megawatts by 2006 as they grow at an AAGR of 26.3%. Thin films represented 12% of the PV market in 2001. By 2006, they will account for 14.9% of the total market. Research and development efforts in the use of these materials continues at a more rapid pace.

The value of worldwide PV module shipments was estimated at $2,067.5 million in 2001. That amount is expected to increase at an AAGR of 12.5% to reach $3,728.5 million by 2006. Price reductions in the cost of modules as well as balance-of-systems will make PV systems less expensive.

The value of module materials was estimated at $1,378.3 million in 2001. Material value will rise at an AAGR of 11.7% to reach $2,400.5 million by 2006.

The report is due out in August 2002. For more information, visit the company’s web site at

Source: BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY, INC., 25 Van Zant Street, Norwalk, CT 06855, Telephone: (203) 853-4266; ext. 309, Email:

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