Germany To Remain A Solar Powerhouse

2011 is shaping up as a bumper year for world growth in the solar photovoltaic market, according to global market forecaster iSuppli Corp.

Germany will once again take top honours as the world’s leading solar energy generating nation, producing 9.5 Gigawatts (GW) of solar power, or around half the total number solar installations globally.

iSuppli forecasts that worldwide photovoltaic installations will reach 20.2GW next year, up from 14.2 at the end of 2010. The robust figures come despite threats from the German government to dramatically cut subsidies to its solar energy industry in the form of feed-in tariffs, and the extension of nuclear power options into the future.

“A severe action such as an installation cap on solar technology conceivably could cause a mutiny among regional German politicians who count PV companies as electoral constituencies, in the process drawing loud protestations from the industries where precious jobs are at stake,” said Stefan De Haan, senior analyst for photovoltaic systems and materials at iSuppli.

Although growth in solar photovoltaic generations has improved over the year, expansion of the industry has softened significantly from the 2009 high of 97.9 percent, the iSuppli research said.

Germany and its progressive renewable energy policies will play a major role in the outcome of global solar markets.

In the near term, the German reprieve to the nuclear power industry will lead to a softening of the market in the first quarter of the new year, but with an overwhelming 80 percent of German citizens supporting continuing government subsidies for renewable energy and feed-in tariffs, forecasts for a strong German solar PV market in 2011 continue to hold and remain unchanged.