SAN FRANCISCOMarket research firm iSuppli Corp. Tuesday (April 20) dramatically increased its 2010 forecast for installations of photovoltaic (PV) systems, citing an expected surge in sales in Germany combined with plunging prices.
Solar installations will rise to 13.6 gigawatts (GW) in 2010, up 93.6 percent from 7 GW in 2009,
iSuppli (El Segundo, Calif.) said. The firm's previous forecast, released in February, called for 8.3GW worth of installations in 2010, up 64 percent from 2009.
A strong rise in PV installations in 2010 will be driven by robust market conditions in the second and fourth quarters, which will more than compensate for slower performances in the first and third quarters, iSuppli predicted.
"This will be an up and down year for PV installations," said Henning Wicht, director and principal analyst for PV at iSuppli, in a statement. "The first quarter of 2010 was negatively affected by winter conditions, likely causing a decline in installations compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. However, the second quarter is expected to be a blockbuster for the global PV industry."
Wicht said reduced feed-in-tariffs (FIT) in Germany are coming in July. German customers will rush to install PV systems before that incentive becomes less compelling, Wicht predicted.
"A market correction will happen in the third quarter, leading to a huge fourth quarter due to the approach of other countries' FIT deadlines in January 2011, Wicht said.
Wicht said plummeting prices for solar panels during 2009 now are being reflected in system prices. He said the price declines would compensate for FIT reductions, resulting in favorable return on investment for homeowners and project developers that go with solar installations.
Wicht said the projected up and down nature of the PV business this year could create supply constraints in 2010 and into 2011. But despite the short-term supply challenges, the outlook for global PV installations remains bright, according to iSuppli, which predicted that 2011 PV installations would rise to 20.3GW in 2011, nearly triple the total for 2009.
ISuppli is offering for sale through its website a new report entitled, "Photovoltaic System Installation Demand Accelerates In Spite of Tariff Changes."