Solar cell production to grow 56% in 2009

Reuters reported on 11 Aug 2009 that solar cell manufacturing capacity will grow 59% in 2009 despite weakened demand for renewable energy projects in the face of tight credit markets and a global economic recession in a report issued by research group DisplaySearch. DisplaySearch joined the solar market research bandwagon when it released its first Quarterly PV Cell Capacity Database & Trends Report on 11 Aug 2009.

Summary of the report:
1. Cell manufacturing capacity will reach 17 GW this year and will surpass 42 GW by 2013, growing at a rate of 49% per year.
2. While demand for PV panels is shrinking 17% this year and enormous oversupply eroded prices, the solar industry will begin working through the excess capacity as demand recovers next year and takes off in 2011 and beyond.
3. From Jan 2008 to July 2009, about 11.4 GW of new solar cell capacity was installed worldwide.
4. The report named First Solar as the largest solar cell manufacturer with more than 1 GW of capacity. Q-Cells and Suntech Power come in second.
5. By 2013, these companies and JA Solar Holdings, Motech Industries, Renewable Energy Corp (REC), SunPower, Yingli Green Energy Holding, Showa Shell Sekiyu KK and Sharp Corp may be among the top 10 makers, with more than 16 GW or 38% of total capacity in 2013.
6. Through 2006, Japan had the largest solar cell production capacity in the world. However, Chinese companies started to ramp up a host of new facilities in 2005 and by 2007 had more solar cell capacity on line than any other country. China has continued to invest heavily in production facilities, about a third of the worldwide cell capacity in 2009 and is forecast to be the main region for cell production well into the future.
7. In 2005, 95% of solar cell manufacturing capacity was for crystalline silicon solar cells and 5% for thin film solar cells. In 2009, thin film will account for more than 20% of capacity. By 2013, thin film technologies are forecast to account for as much as 30% of solar cell capacity.