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25 November 2008


Growth forecast for 2009 solar installations cut from 49% to 26%

Sales of solar energy panels will be significantly impacted by poor economic conditions, causing weakened average selling prices and order delays or cancellations, according to a report ‘Opportunities in The Solar Cell Market For Thin Film Technology’ by market research firm The Information Network.

“In our view, the slowdown in real economic growth, the credit crisis, and a variety of other factors point to a contraction in the solar panel market for 2009,” notes Dr Castellano, president of The Information Network. “Newly installed solar capacity will reach only 7.1GW in 2009, equivalent to a global growth rate of 26%, down from our forecast of 49% growth earlier this year,” he adds.

Panel prices will likely fall 20-30% in 2009 as global supply of polysilicon doubles, the market research firm reckons. Solar companies will attempt to renegotiate silicon supply contracts to get better prices. While this is good news for the solar market, poor near-term macroeconomics will impact installations.

The solar panel market is expected to pick up again in 2010, growing 48% to 10.5GW of newly installed PV systems. The thin-film sector, which includes amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), will represent 17.8% of the market in 2009, growing to 20.2% in 2010. Plagued by low efficiencies in the region of 7-12%, this sector will be compensated by lower manufacturing costs.

“First Solar, for example, 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,” says Castellano. “Applied Materials is selling thin-film equipment for amorphous silicon panels with a $1.56 per watt total production cost,” he adds. “Polysilicon panels are selling in the $5 per watt range.”

See related items:

Thin film technology set to top 30% of solar cell market by 2015

Thin film to take 28% of PV market by 2012

Thin-film solar market to reach 9GW in 2012

Thin-film to grow from 10% to 19% of PV market by 2012

Search: Thin film solar cells CIGS CdTe a-Si GaAs solar cells