The PV market saw burgeoning demand in 2010. The boom in the German market during the first half of the year was followed by a boom in Italy during the second half, with demand outstripping supply throughout 2010. Digitimes Research estimates that total global new PV system installations reached 18.2GWp in 2010.
Major reductions in subsidy levels are occurring across the major European PV markets in 2011. As European markets account for 80% of global demand, this will have a decisive effect on supply and demand in the global PV industry. However, the PV markets of India, the US, Canada, Australia and other countries also have a great deal of growth momentum, which could even be sufficient to offset the impact of weakening European demand. Digitimes Research estimates that, spurred on by emerging PV markets, the global PV market will reach 21.5GWp, representing 17.8% growth on the 2010 figure.
The PV industry spent the entirety of 2010 coping with shortfalls in supplies, driving many firms to proactively expand capacity in response. As the trend towards relocating manufacturing to the Asia region continues unabated, China and Taiwan-based firms have also actively expanded capacity. Digitimes Research calculates that based on the various manufacturers' capacity expansion plans, global PV silicon wafer capacity will reach 50.9GWp by the end of 2011, equivalent to 62.1% growth on the 2010 figure; while total c-Si solar cell capacity will reach 60.6GWp in 2011, a 90.6% increase on the preceding year.