The global growth rates for the PV market are showing excellent health, according to a new study by Bank Sarasin.
The report forecasts average global growth rates of 48 per cent for the sector up to 2012, with the global market volume of newly installed PV systems rising from 4 gigawatts in 2008 to 125 gigawatts in 2020.
“Large-scale solar energy systems are playing a key role and are therefore likely to be increasingly financed directly by electricity utilities,” says the report. “At the same time the market for solar collectors is likely to remain volatile for the time being.’
The report pays particular attention to thin-film technologies, which take less material to produce, and to promising new markets.
The expansion plans are impressive: according to Bank Sarasin’s estimates, these technologies will be able to increase their market share from 12 per cent at present to 23 per cent in 2012.
Although they currently have a comparatively low efficiency in the region of 7-11 per cent, this is likely to be compensated by lower costs and a steeper learning curve. The five most promising companies for the future are First Solar, Sharp, Calyxo (Q-Cells), United Solar Ovonics and Sunfilm.
The Middle East as well as North Africa provide best conditions for solar power-based energy production, taking advantage of high irradiation levels coupled with vast and scarcely populated regions. New solar-based applications such as water desalination, solar cooling and solar power plants will clearly boost the demand for solar technologies in these countries.
By 2020 Sarasin expects the global market volume to rise to 125 GW newly installed PV systems. This is equivalent to an annual average growth rate of 28 per cent over the period 2012 to 2020.