Study: Photovoltaic module capacity growing faster than demand

Wellingborough, U.K, January 7, 2011 — Photovoltaic module production capacity increased by nearly 70 percent over the course of 2010, reaching nearly 30 GW by the end of the year according to IMS Research.

Production is forecast to continue increasing, despite the growth of photovoltaic installations being predicted to slow from over 100 percent in 2010 to less than 20 percent in 2011.

Demand for PV modules reached record levels in all regions in 2010, driven by the attractive returns presented by incentive schemes, particularly in European countries like Germany, Italy and Czech Republic — the three largest markets last year.

However, like many others, these countries have reduced the rates they offer for electricity generated from PV systems from the start of 2011; and as a result, whilst global PV installations are still set to increase in 2011, they will do so at a far slower rate.

Regardless of slowing installations, most suppliers, many of which remained capacity-constrained throughout 2010, are proceeding with aggressive capacity expansions.

IMS Research forecasts that 35 GW of annual capacity will be reached within the first half of 2011, despite installations in the same period being predicted to reach no more than one fifth of that amount.

As a result, it is likely that there will be an oversupply of modules this year, leading to tougher competition and decreasing prices from suppliers.

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