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Global Solar PV Shipments Likely to Double to 16 GW This Year

According to IMS Research, global solar photovoltaic modules shipments are likely to exceed to 16 GW this year up from an earlier estimate of 14.6 GW. While Europe would continue to be the leader in solar PV capacity addition, new and developing markets would also see rapid growth. With more than 8 GW of solar PV modules already shipped out the 16 GW mark seems quite likely.

While Europe constitutes 80 percent of the demand it is likely to grow at a slower pace as compared to Asia. Several European nations have, quite surprisingly, rolled back financial incentives for solar PV consumers. Germany offers consumers to sell suplus power generated from solar PV modules to the grid at premium rates. However, the German Parliament recently passed a legislation to reduce the subsidies to as much as 16 percent. Similar financial cut backs have been announced by Italy, Spain, France and the Czech Republic.

The developing markets like the United States, China and India are likely to grow at much rapid pace as compared to Europe. According to an Interstate Renewable Energy Council report there was significant capacity addition across North America.

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council …… concluded that 435 mw of solar PV were installed in the United States in 2009, bringing total installed photovoltaic capacity to 1,250 mw. The residential market accounted for about 36 percent of new U.S. solar PV capacity in 2009. The utility market accounted for 16 percent of capacity. There are now 104,000 solar PV installations in the United States, the study determined.

In addition to several state-level clean energy programs supporting new solar PV installations, President Obama announced $2 billion support for solar energy firms Abengoa Solar and Abound Solar Manufacturing which plan to set up large-scale power plants across the United States. This is only one of the several clean energy projects being funded through the economic stimulus package.

The Chinese government, too, is supporting solar PV in a major way. China already has a law in place which mandates the industries to buy all the power generated from renewable energy sources. In addition to the new solar power projects announced almost every month, the government is supporting small-scale power plants by offering a subsidy of $2.93 per watt.

India’s ambitious National Solar Mission could make it the world’s largest solar energy producing nation by 2022. The first phase of the Mission has already been commenced and aims at installing 500 MW of solar PV capacity by 2013. The government is offering several financial incentives to the project developers like tax breaks, premium tariff rates, easy bank loans, subsidies on electrical and other equipment and assurance of returns on investments. Several state governments and even some private companies are considering off-grid solar PV installations to provide electricity to far-off villages.

The IMS Research does, however, warn that not all of the 16 GW of solar modules would be installed by the end of this year leading to significant accumulation and subsequent decline in demand by as much as 65 percent.

Image: Waynenf at Flickr (Creative Commons)

The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views and do not represent those of TERI/TERI University where the author is currently pursuing a Master’s degree.

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Mridul currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

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