EU PVSEC: iSuppli 2009 Photovoltaic Forecast Wrong

German 2009 PV market demand defies iSuppli doom and gloom forecast.

iSupply2009PVDemand iSuppli, your low ball 2009 Photovoltaic (PV) Forecast (Figure left, Source: iSuppli) of 3.9 GW (GigaWatts) needs a drastic revision upward.

The 24th EU PVSEC (European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition) was buzzing about how the German market is booming for solar installs in the later half of 2009. Falling solar module prices and the unadjusted 2009 Feed-in Tariffs promise low double digit returns on PV investments. The tide is not lifting all boats in a buyers market, but certain PV manufacturers are claiming to be sold out of solar modules again. In fact, besides overloaded installers, the utility EON does not think they can grid connect 35000 installations this year in Bavaria before the annual degression (or political revision?) of the Feed-in Tariffs (Source: “Netzbetreiber überlastet” by Katrin Petzold for photovoltaik in German only).

From 24th EU PVSEC

2009 PV demand appears to be anywhere from in line with the 5.8 GW of 2008 installs up to 6 or 7 GW. For example, Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) is forecasting just over 6 GW for 2009, and Morgan Stanley forecast 6 to 7 GW of 2009 PV demand at the recent PV Taiwan.

This also means the iSuppli prediction in “First Solar’s market share set to soar” by Mark Osborne at is also off on the math. If First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) does produce and sell 1.1 GW of PV modules in 2009, their market share would be about 15.7 to 18.3% (percent), not the up to 28% boasted by iSuppli.

Please note I am not saying there won’t be PV module oversupply and inventory build in 2009.

So what is the deal with the iSuppli website? I observe right mouse clicks have been disabled; I thought I needed to reboot my computer!

Per the iSuppli PV Perspectives: “Monthly Insight and Analysis of Critical PV Business Issues” (a locked pdf):

Magazines, e-Newsletters, and Blogs give you news paid for by advertisers. PV Perspectives offers thoughtfully analyzed, unbiased PV business topics. These topics are selected for their impact on the business of photovoltaics and not just to parrot press releases that flood the media.

I suppose this is in juxtaposition to iSuppli Forecasts that require monthly subscriptions to obtain corrected updates garnered from their rich datasets?


  1. Tom C says:

    Nice bit of number crunching, Ed. Good to know there are some of us who do not parrot PRs and have not sold our souls to advertisers–or newsletter subscribers. I’ll try and keep up my end.

  2. gwootton says:

    It constantly amazes me how new tech is always subjected to condiitons that old tech is not. They plunk down hydro dams on big rivers, place nukes near large bodies of water (for cooling) or even in the middle of the river then string wires for hundreds of miles to get to a customer. They truck coal half way across the country at large tax payer expense to feed coal-fired power. They drill and dig oil and gas out of almost every nature preserve. Along comes something better and suddenly they get ‘special’ rules to live by.

    The other thing that amazes is how any spending on the new technology is bad while spending on the old is just fine. Take a look at how much is being spent on new grid to connect new coal fired plants to populations hundreds of miles away. Okay for coal but not okay for solar. Actual spend in depletion allowances, tax credits, job susidies, transportation subsidies and, of course, transmission lines exceeds 1.3 trilliion per year for coal. Can’t spend anything on solar. Keep breathing the air and hope you get medicare.

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