German photovoltaic installations soar by 71 per cent in 2010

Paul Boughton

Attractive investment conditions in the first half of 2010 indicate that Germany likely will enjoy a banner year for solar photovoltaic (PV) installations , according to iSuppli Corp.

iSuppli forecasts that Germany will install 6.6 Gigawatts (GW) worth of PV systems in 2010, up 71 percent from 3.9GW in 2009. Germany will see an even better year in 2011 as installations reach 9.5GW.

“An FIT reduction that will become effective in July will drive a huge surge of installations in the second quarter as consumers strive to capitalize on government benefits before the rebates and incentives decrease,” said Dr. Henning Wicht, director and principal analyst for photovoltaics at iSuppli Corp. “However, iSuppli still forecasts strong demand for rooftop installations of solar systems in the second half of 2010 even after the FIT cut, although sales still won’t match the second-quarter total.”

“While the second quarter of 2010 will be a banner period, the third quarter is projected to be relatively quiet, Wicht added. “A surge then will happen once again in the fourth quarter as consumers race to take advantage of prime rebates and incentives, before Germany conducts another adjustment of the FIT at the beginning of 2011.”

Installations will surge by another 43.9 percent in 2011 due to continued attractive investment conditions assuming a moderate system price decrease.

Germany will continue to play a key role in the PV market in Europe as well as the entire world. Not only will the country be the largest market for PV installations, its politics and FIT regulations will serve as an example to other countries on how to promote solar energy.

PV installations in Europe will account for about 80 percent of the worldwide market, mostly coming from Germany, France, Italy and the Czech Republic. Italy and France, in particular, quickly are becoming solar regions, with 1.0GW of solar installations in Italy and 500MW in France expected in 2010. However, with both countries facing uncertainties about FIT cuts in 2011, these bloated numbers may be spurred by a consumer race seeking to take advantage of government programmes.

Other European countries such as Greece, Bulgaria, Spain and the United Kingdom appear to be prime investment opportunities, but administrative hurdles or installation limits are slowing the growth of PV in these areas.

For the foreseeable future, Germany will continue to lead Europe and many other parts of the world despite the FIT cuts that reduce the level of incentives to purchase solar systems.

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