£46bn sales prediction for solar panels

In yet more good news for the solar power industry figures recently released by a leading market research group have predicted that the global market for solar panels will reach £46bn by 2017.

The news from Global Industry Analysts comes in the wake of a couple of turbulent years for the solar market, which has seen it battered by the impact of the economic recession in Europe an area that until now has been a key area for the development of the industry.

Following a period of fairly continual growth, the abrupt collapse of the European economy following the debt crisis has seen demand for solar panels fall off dramatically.

A situation that has been made worse by the decisions by companies like Germany, Italy and the UK to withdraw subsidies intended to encourage the deployment of solar technology.

According to the GIA research: “Solar Panels: A Global Strategic Business Report,” policy changes that have for the first time weakened the European market’s dominance of the industry.

“The solar panels market in the immediate future will be challenged by planned subsidy cuts by major European countries such as Germany and Italy and chances of excess supply. While Europe still accounts for a major share of demand for solar panels, other markets such as the US, Asia-Pacific and even Latin America are expected to gather momentum, and even spearhead growth in the global market over the next few years.

“Continued policy adjustments, tightening incentive terms and uncertainty over continuation of Feed-In Tariffs for solar installations in major European markets are fast shifting the market dynamics away from the region and towards other regional markets,” states the report, adding that these changes are now seeing developing countries looking to take leadership positions in the industry.

The interest in solar power as potentially the main source of alternative energy has been welcomed by many scientists who have championed the adoption of the technology rather than other options such as wind.

“As an on-going source of energy solar power has to be the grand-daddy of all power,” said Dr Richard Pearson, a bio-fuel engine designer for Lotus and a noted advocate of solar power. If you think about It, the wind comes from the action of the sunlight and oil is simply stored solar energy. It makes a lot more sense to just collect it from source.”

A conclusion that appears not to have been lost on countries like India and China which have seen the spiralling costs of fuel caused by increased global demand and opted to use renewable sunlight instead.

And in response to those rising energy costs many companies such as BT and Body Shop are now integrating solar cell power systems into their buildings as part of their power plans, a trend that has also been taken up by public utilities, schools, train stations and hospitals.

All developments the report interprets as more than healthy: “Given the fast increasing electricity prices, particularly in Europe, and substantial declines in prices of PV technology over the last few years, the solar PV market is expected to achieve its key competitive measure – the grid parity. Global revenues from sales of solar panels are expected to surge at an impressive CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 20% over the analysis period.”

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