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Based on your market position, global market knowledge and analysis, what is your expectation for global market development in 2011 and 2012 in terms of new installed MW?
It depends on the development of the German and Italian markets: If we see an 8 GW+ in Germany and 6 GW+ market in Italy this year, we will reach around 25 GW. However, such strong development in 2011 will result in a shrinking market next year. If we do not see significant growth in Italy and Germany, we may not see any dip at all in 2012.
What is your expectation for the German market? Will Germany remain the biggest market in 2011, or will Italy overtake Germany?
Basically, anything from 6 to 9 GW is possible for the German market. We will know by the end of the year. Italy will overtake Germany, if Germany shows very weak development and Italy very strong development.
How do you see the increasing competition with the still-growing number of new manufacturers, all of whom have huge ambitions? What possible impact can we expect on the markets?
Competition will increase even further, price pressure will remain at a high level, and market consolidation is finally taking place – as expected long ago.
What are your expectations for the emerging giant markets such as China, India, and Australia in 2012 in terms of MW of new installations?
China and India will most likely go beyond the gigawatt threshold. China might even reach two gigawatts. Australia is another story. We have to see how the new FIT works out. From the current perspective, we see Australia somewhere in the range of 500-700 MW but with greater variability compared to China and India.
Which market segment, according to your analysis, will drive global market development most, and why: residential, commercial, or utility scale projects?
In 2011 and 2012, it is and will remain the utility segment. All markets which have the volume to considerably diversify global demand will see significant growth in this segment.
Which market will surprise us in 2012 and why?
Southern and Southeast Asia might surprise us. Newly introduced FITs and the constant hunger for electricity might well spur growth well beyond previously anticipated levels.
What module price development do you expect for next year? Will average sales prices for crystalline silicon modules hit the $1 per watt mark in 2012?
For some manufacturers, this could even happen in 2011. We are confident that we will see the long-targeted $1 per watt mark in 2012 as an industry average. Whether or not this price level is sustainable is another question.
Many people see 'grid-parity' as the Holy Grail for the PV industry. But what do you expect will actually happen at grid parity?
Which will be the highest-potential business model following grid parity? Achieving grid parity in the residential market will in fact change less than what most people would like to see. In fact, we have already reached grid parity in several regions (South of Italy, Japan and South of Germany). We need PV solutions which create value under real-life conditions. Calculating an artificial threshold and saying that if we reach that point there will no longer be any problems is too short-sighted.
What will the solar energy market look like 5 years from now? And what will be the major changes in comparison to today's market?
For sure, the market will have changed completely. PV demand will be much more diversified on a global scale. I hope we will have solved the problems which have already begun to hamper a stronger integration of PV into the electricity supply. Prices will have come down to levels where there is no need to incentivize PV anymore.
Picture yourself in the year 2015...Which development in the PV business did we overlook in the past years?
A second dotcom-like industry.