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19 March 2009


Solar panel sales growth 48% in 2008, but to slow to 26% in '09

Solar energy panel sales rose 48% to 5.6GW in 2008, but a stimulus package is needed to create jobs in the USA, according to a report ‘Opportunities in The Solar Cell Market For Thin Film Technology’ from market research firm The Information Network.

However, less than 14% of solar panel production (750MW) was produced in the USA. Europe produced more than 25% (1.5GW) and Asia 60% (3.3 GW).

“While the use of renewable energy is lauded, what's worse, buying solar panels from Europe and Asia or oil from OPEC,” asks the firm’s president Dr Robert Castellano. “The Obama energy stimulus package must include ways to generate jobs here in the USA. The alternative energy program in the USA needs an Energy Czar to enable job production, and I volunteer my services,” he adds.

The solar energy industry is also in a flux. In particular, capacity utilization (the amount of solar panels produced versus capacity) is below 50%, an oversupply of polysilicon is pushing prices of crystalline wafers below $5 (which is impacting sales of much lower-efficiency amorphous silicon panels), and macroeconomic issues will result in newly installed solar capacity reaching only 7.1GW in 2009 (equivalent to a global growth rate of 26%).

“The solar panel market is expected to pick up again in 2010, growing 48% to 10.5GW of newly installed PV systems,” says Castellano. “The thin-film sector, which includes amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride (CdTe), and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), will represent less than 20% of the market in 2010,” he adds. “Plagued by low efficiencies in of 7-12%, this sector will be compensated by low manufacturing costs.”

See related items:

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

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

Search: Amorphous silicon CdTe CIGS