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Photovoltaic installations hit record levels in ’09

Worldwide solar photovoltaic (PV) installations grew by 6% year over year in 2009 to a record high of 6.43 gigawatt (GW). Solar energy market research and consulting company, Solarbuzz, found that last year the PV industry generated $38 billion in global revenues and raised more than $13.5 billion in equity and debt, an increase of 8% from the prior year.

Looking forward, Solarbuzz believes the industry will return to high growth over the next five years. So much so that even the slowest growth scenario will propel the global market to 2.5 times its current size by 2014. Using the fastest growth forecast, annual industry revenues would approach $100 billion by 2014.

Solarbuzz's Marketbuzz 2010 Report, showed that European countries accounted for 4.75 GW, or 74%, of world demand in 2009, with Germany, Italy and Czech Republic as top three countries, collectively accounting for 4.07 GW. Demand soared in all three, but was greatest in Italy, which became the second largest market in the world in 2009. The third largest global market was the U.S., which grew 36% to 485 megawatts (MW). Following closely behind was Japan, in fourth place and closing fast with a an expansion rate of 109% year over year. In contrast, Spain's 2009 demand collapsed to just 4% of its prior-year level.

Worldwide solar cell production reached a consolidated figure of 9.34 GW in 2009, up from 6.85 GW in 2008, with thin film production accounting for 18% of that total. China and Taiwan production now accounts for 49% of global cell production. Of total European demand, net cell imports accounted for 74% of the total.

Annual capacity at the top seven polysilicon manufacturers in 2009 was up 92% to 114,500 tons/yr, with the top eight wafer manufacturers accounting for 32.9% of global wafer capacity in 2009. When solar cell production exceeded the market demand, the average crystalline silicon module price fell 38% compared to 2008. [email protected]

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