Friday, 19 March 2010

Global solar photovoltaic installations set record

Denver Business Journal - by Sacramento Business Journal
Even during a dismal economy, solar photovoltaic installations reached a record in 2009, according to market-research firm Solarbuzz.
A record 6.43 gigawatts were installed last year, a 6 percent increase compared to 2008, with a majority of the growth in Europe, according to the industry report. The photovoltaic industry generated $38 billion in revenue last year worldwide, an 8 percent increase from 2008.
European countries accounted for 74 percent — or 4.75 gigawatts — of the installations last year. Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic were a large majority of the growth in Europe, with Italy becoming the second-largest market.
The United States became the third-largest market for installations at 485 megawatts, a 36 percent increase compared to 2008, according to SolarBuzz.
Spain, one of the fastest-growing markets previously, was the biggest disappointment, falling to only 4 percent of the installations in 2008.
Despite a cash crunch and the recession, analysts expect fast-paced growth for the industry during the next five years, with the solar photovoltaic market 2.5 times larger than by 2014.
“Looking forward, the industry will see a return to high growth, but in a low-margin environment,” said Craig Stevens president of Solarbuzz. “Our analysis demonstrates that a wide range of start-up markets will help offset a slowdown in German demand in the second half of 2010.”
Colorado has been a center of business activity for solar power, spurred in part by the federal stimulus program. Blake Jones, president of Boulder’s Namaste Solar Electric Inc., appeared at the stimulus bill's signing ceremony with President Barack Obama in February 2009 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
Jim Welch, CEO of Louisville-based Bella Energy Inc. and president of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association, said last year that there are 10,000 jobs linked to the solar industry in Colorado.
Solarbuzz, whose U.S. headquarters is in San Francisco, is a unit of NPD Group Inc.