IMS Research predicts global PV installations to hit 24-GW in 2011

November 16, 2011 // By Paul Buckley
A new report released by market analyst, IMS Research predicts that despite the relatively weak start to the year, installations will rise by 24% in 2011 to reach 24 GW, up from 19 GW in 2010. The research also revealed that European installations will rise by 3% this year and that Italy will displace Germany as the world’s largest market.

IMS Research’s Q4’11 PV Demand Database shows that installations exceeded 8 GW in the first half of 2011 and will reach 15 GW in the second half confirming the market analyst firm’s prediction earlier in the year that installations would soar in second half of the year. However, although installations have grown considerably, this has not necessarily translated into a surge in demand for PV components because of high inventory levels.

“Despite installations in the second half of the year being almost double those in the first half, most suppliers didn’t see any considerable uptick in orders. This is simply as a result of the high inventory levels in the channel, with customers installing previously purchased modules and inverters,” explained Ash Sharma, Senior Research Director for Photovoltaics. Earlier in the year, IMS Research revealed how module inventory stood at a huge 10 GW, whilst inverter inventory was at an unusually high level of 6 GW.

The new report also highlights that the true size of the market in 2011 is contentious, depending on what is considered the size of the Italian market in 2010. Whilst IMS Research measures PV demand when a system is installed, other methods often consider connections, registrations or approvals leading to different market sizes.

“There is much confusion over the size of the Italian market in 2010 and 2011 due to various data points for installations under the various ‘Conto Energias’. IMS Research has analysed module and inverter shipments to the country and cross-checked inventory levels at integrators and distributors to conclude that 4.5 GW of new capacity was installed in 2010 – despite a greatly higher number claiming  the ‘Secondo Conto Energia’ which expired at the end of the year”, commented Sharma.

 Despite a freeze and then cuts to its incentives earlier this year, Italy is forecast to become the world’s largest market in 2011 for the first time; and install 6.8 GW of new