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Analysis of the Global Solar Power Market

  • July 2013
  • 114 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 1591468


Table of Contents

Photovoltaic (PV) Installations Make Progress in Becoming Mainstream Energy Source

Solar energy has become, and will continue to be, one of the fastest growing technologies in the global energy industry as a consequence of rising energy prices, volatility of fuel costs, and government incentives for renewable energy. This research service analyzes the global solar power market. Revenue and installed capacity forecasts to 2016 are included, along with the drivers and restraints for market growth. The study is segmented into photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) systems. Regional analyses also are provided for North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of World.

Executive Summary

• Solar energy has become, and will continue to be, one of the fastest growing technologies in the global energy industry over the next few years.
• Globally, cumulative photovoltaic (PV) solar installations reached X MW in 2011. The European region represented X percent, or X MW of the total installed capacity.
• Europe was the primary location for PV installations in 2011. However, North America and Asia-Pacific are projected to be the regions that will have an increased installed capacity during the forecast period.
• In terms of installations, the PV market is projected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of Xpercent to 2016.
• This growth in solar installations has not translated into greater revenue due to the continued decline in the average selling price of solar modules.
• In terms of revenue, the PV market generated $X billion in 2011, and the market is expected to grow at a Xpercent CAGR from 2011 to 2016.
• Expiration of the X program in the United States and the reduction of feed-in tariff (FIT) programs in Europe are likely to affect new system installations, especially through 2013.
• The PV industry experienced a tremendous supply and demand imbalance through the value chain in 2011. Most solar module manufacturers had to reduce prices, decrease margins, and, in some cases, close some manufacturing facilities.
• The concentrating solar power (CSP) segment of the market generated about $Xbillion in revenue with X MW installed by the end of 2011.
• The CSP market is projected to have a X percent CAGR in terms of installations from 2011 to 2016.
• All regions are expected to experience higher growth during the forecast period, with some areas showing stronger growth.
- Europe and the United States are likely to become the main locations for new CSP installations.
- However, several projects are planned for North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific.

CEO’s Perspective

1. The solar industry is in a process of consolidation.
2. Some components are at overcapacity in the market, which has led to a decline in prices for solar modules.
3. Chinese manufacturers are producing solar cells at a lower cost than American and European companies.
4. The U.S. Congress’ inability to extend Section 1603 of the Treasury Program and FIT reductions in some European countries are expected to affect system installations.
5. Lower prices for solar modules and government incentives are expected to drive solar installations.


• Solar energy is a source of power that utilizes energy from the sun. The principal forms of solar energy are heat and light.
• This research study focuses on solar technology that can be used for electricity generation. The main technologies that are suited for electricity-generated solar power are PV and concentrating solar power (CSP).
• The PV method is the process of converting energy from sunlight into electricity.
• A PV system’s basic unit is a PV cell made of semiconductor devices, and electrons are released when light strikes the cell, resulting in the flow of a charge. A group of cells that is arranged in an interconnecting pattern is called a module.
• CSP systems indirectly generate power by using lenses or mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy and convert it into heat, which is channeled through a conventional generator. These plants consist of two parts: one that collects solar energy and converts it to heat, and another that converts the heat energy to electricity.
• The base year for this study is 2011, and the forecast period is 2012 to 2016.
• This study only considers solar power technologies that are used for power generation.
• Market size is provided in terms of revenue and installed capacity. Revenue figures consider the installation cost of solar systems; installed capacity figures describe the system nameplate capacity.
• Solar PV systems can be classified as crystalline silicon, thin film, and concentrator PV, based on the technology that is employed.
• CSP systems can be classified, based on the solar energy collection method, into four technologies: parabolic trough, power towers, dish concentrators, and linear Fresnel systems.
• According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is the cost of generating energy—usually electricity—for a particular system.
• Prices and revenue figures are expressed in U.S. dollars.
• This study has been segmented in four regions:
- North America (Canada and the United States)
- Europe (Western, Central, and Eastern)
- Asia-Pacific (countries on the western border of the Pacific Ocean, including the Indo-Chinese peninsula)
- Rest of World (all other regions, including Central and South America; the Caribbean Islands; the Middle East; Central Asia; and Africa)

Key Questions this Study will Answer

• What is the current status of the solar market? How long will it continue to grow, and at what rate?
• Who are the main participants in the market?
• How is the solar power market expect to evolve among the different applications in terms of installed capacity?
• Which are the main drivers and restraints that affect the market?
• Are solar panel prices expected to continue to decline in the future?
• Which region is expected to present the greatest growth?

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