PARIS The economic crisis will impact significantly solar panel sales, starting with weakened average selling prices and order delays or cancellations, according to market research group The Information Network (New Tripoli, PA.)
The solar panel market is set to contract in 2009 because of the slowdown in economic growth and the credit crunch, stated Dr. Castellano, president of The Information Network. "Newly installed solar capacity will reach only 7.1 GWatts in 2009, equivalent to a global growth rate of 26 percent, down from our forecast of 49-percent growth earlier this year."
The market research firm said it expects panel prices will fall between 20 to 30 percent in 2009 as global supply of polysilicon doubles. The solar panel market is due to recover in 2010, with a 48-percent growth to 10.5 GWatts of newly-installed PV systems.
According to The Information Network, the thin-film sector, which includes amorphous silicon, CdTe, and CIGS, will account for 17.8 percent of the market in 2009 and for 20.2 percent of the market in 2010.
"The surge in thin-film panels was a result of a severe shortage of polysilicon wafers used to make high efficiency solar panels," stated Dr. Castellano. “This factor, combined with macroeconomic factors will redirect the revenue stream for the industry in the near term, but its impact will last longer”
First Solar, the market research firm illustrated, produces its CdTe cells at an average cost per watt of $1.12, and sells them at an average price per watt of $2.45. Applied Materials is selling thin-film equipment for amorphous silicon panels with a $1.56 per watt total production cost. Polysilicon panels are selling in the $5 per watt range.