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Solar market generates growth spurts

Posted: 24 Mar 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar energy? PV cells? photovoltaic market?

Cliche of the year: Solar is hot!

Despite shortages in polysilicon supply, world solar photovoltaic (PV) market installations reached a record high of 2,826MW in 2007, a 62 percent jump over 2006, according to Solarbuzz LLC, a solar energy consultancy.

Total polysilicon production rose by 30 percent in 2007, but ''it remained the most capacity constrained part of the PV chain,'' according to Solarbuzz. Some 21 new entrants started manufacturing polysilicon during the year, according to the firm.

World solar cell production hit 3,436MW in 2007, up from 2,204MW a year earlier, according to the firm. Japanese producers continue to lose ground, only accounting 26 percent of global production. China manufacturers raised their share from 20 percent in 2006 to 35 percent in 2007, according to Solarbuzz.

Thin-film production more than doubled from 181MW in 2006 to 400MW in 2007, accounting for 12 percent of total PV production.

The PV industry generated $17.2 billion in global revenues in 2007. ''Germany's PV market reached 1,328MW in 2007 and now accounts for 47 percent of the world market. Spain soared by over 480 percent to 640MW, while the United States increased by 57 percent to 220MW,'' according to Solarbuzz. ''It became the world's fourth largest market behind Japan, once the world leader, which declined 23 percent to 230MW.''

"There has been massive investment in new production capacity across the PV chain over the past 12 months," said Craig Stevens, president of Solarbuzz, in a statement. "In addition to this, PV companies raised nearly $10 billion in equity and debt during 2007 to support industry expansion."

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe

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