| market development advances
Pv markets worldwide: Where We Stand
For 20 years, Wolfgang Palz, Ph.D., managed renewable nergy development for the European Union Com- mission in Brussels. In June, he published a paper titled
“PV Policies and Markets,” containing an overview and analysis of the world’s photovoltaic markets and technologies,
deployable now and over the next couple of decades.
As a baseline, Palz cites market research indicating that
18 gigawatts (GW) of grid-tied PV capacity were installed
worldwide in 2010, valued at roughly $70 billion for the
modules alone. With balance of system and other costs,
investment in these systems totaled about $140 billion.
That represented growth of about 130 percent over 2009
installations, and brought cumulative worldwide installed
capacity to 44 G W (including off-grid systems). About 1.5
million PV arrays were in operation worldwide.
Copyright © 2011 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
rebuilding of Japan’s grid architecture, he suggests that
early forecasts may prove conservative. He also observes
that ground-mounted utility-scale projects have overtaken
residential installations in total scale, in large part because
it’s more efficient to permit a few very large systems than
thousands of small ones.
Half the modules sold in 2010 came from China. Palz
attributes this largely to undervaluation of the Yuan, giving
all China-made goods a price advantage. Nearly all of that
production was exported: China’s internal policies have not
yet triggered a domestic market for PV. German factories
have managed to maintain 40 percent market share in their
own domestic market.
Palz also blames cheap Chinese silicon, in part, for the
relatively slow progress of thin-film modules in penetrating
world markets. While thin film grew
in absolute terms, its market share fell
from 17 percent to 13 percent from
2009 to 2010.
New research strongly suggests that the levelized cost
of new utility-scale PV now matches or beats new nuclear
power, and that PV also beats new natural gas turbines
as a source for peaking power. PV is becoming more competitive with rival renewable sources, including concentrating solar thermal and wind: In 2010, Germany installed
The leading jurisdiction in
the world for PV penetration is
Bavaria, where, by the close of
2011, PV will provide 10 percent of all electric power on
an annual basis. Germany as a
whole relies on PV for 3 percent of its electric power, Italy
and Spain 2. 5 percent, the rest
of the world less than 1 percent.
Palz attributes the German
success to the feed-in tariff policy implemented in 2004.
In the November/Decem-ber SOLAR TODAY, we’ll
summarize the Palz analysis of
the state of PV technology.
the top five nations for Pv installation in 2010 were —
1. Germany 7. 4 GW 2. Italy 3. 5 GW 3. Czech Republic 1.36 GW 4. Japan 991 MW 5. uSA 878 MW
Palz notes that on March 22, 2010, a watershed was
achieved when, for the first time, PV generation in Germany
exceeded the nation’s nuclear generation.
Going forward, Palz forecasts 20 GW of new installations for 2011, for a total worldwide capacity at the end of
the year of 64 GW — but he cautions that this calculation
is based on market trends before the nuclear meltdown at
Fukushima. Because of that disaster, and the consequent
New research strongly suggests that the levelized cost of
new utility-scale PV now matches or beats new nuclear
power, and that PV also beats new natural
gas turbines as a source for peaking power.