Germany slips to second place, while Italy takes top slot and U.S. comes in third.
After two years at the top, Germany this year is likely to lose its place as the world’s top photovoltaic (PV) solar market, slipping to No. 2 behind former runner-up Italy, according to an IHS iSuppli PV Market Brief report from information and analysis provider IHS. PV solar system installations in Germany during 2011 are expected to decline to 5.9 gigawatts (GW), down 20 percent from 7.4 GW in 2010. Meanwhile, Italy in 2011 is set to install up to 6.9 GW worth of PV systems, nearly double the 3.6 GW from 2010.
Propelled by residential and institutional investors who support green initiatives as well as sustainable funding, Germany has been the world’s leading country for PV installations since 2009,” said Henning Wicht, Ph.D., director and principal analyst for photovoltaics at IHS. “However, installations in the country stalled in the first half of 2011. And while the market recovered in the second half, the increase was insufficient to generate growth for the whole year. Meanwhile, the Italian government’s attractive incentives boosted the country’s installations massively, giving it the top position worldwide.”
New PV solar installations in Germany in the first half of 2011 amounted to only 1.7 GW—less than a third of total for the entire year. High PV module prices early in the year caused buyers to hold off purchases until costs moderated. However, figures from the German Grid Agency reported installations of 2.3 GW from June to September, exceeding the original IHS estimate of 2.2 GW. A mini boom also materialized in Germany in October, November and December because of reduced system prices and changes of tariffs expected in January 2012. Meanwhile, Italy this year added more solar capacity than any other country thanks to attractive tariffs and changing subsidy schemes from the government in Rome. After a modest second quarter, installations in Italy are estimated to have reached a far-more robust 2 GW in the third and fourth quarters, helping that country jump to the top of the PV market this year.
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