According to a report just released by SolarBuzz, world solar panel installations attained a record high of 5.95 gigawatts during 2008; growth of 110% over 2007.
Europe represented 82% of global demand in 2008, largely thanks to Spain’s massive 285% growth that also saw it pushing Germany into second place in the market ranking. The common element that both these countries share and major factor in general uptake is the availability of gross feed in tariff incentive programs.
The US advanced to number three with 360 megawatts of solar panels installed, followed by Korea, Italy and Japan.
The solar panel industry generated USD$37.1 billion in revenue during last year, while successfully raising over USD$12.5 billion in equity and debt – representing an increase of 11% on 2007.
Global solar cell production reached 6.85 GW in 2008, up from 3.44 GW in 2007. Thin film solar panel production also recorded solid gains, up 123% in 2008 to reach 0.89 GW.
China and Taiwan continued to grab increased market share of global solar cell production, increasing to 44% in 2008; up from 35% in 2007.
Polysilicon supply to the solar industry grew by 127%, which substantially eased supply limitations experienced in previous years. The USA’s polysilicon production accounted for 43% of the world’s supplies.
While the 2008 average global crystalline module price increased by a modest 3% over 2007, a substantial fall in the material’s cost was seen in the fourth quarter 2008. Initial first quarter 2009 data shows a decrease of 24% compared to the 2008 global weighted average.
Read more of the SolarBuzz report