Global solar PV installations will reach 24GW in 2011 according to a new report published by IMS Research. Solar PV installations are predicted to rise by 24 percent in 2011, up from 19GW in 2010. The report has also predicted that European installations will rise by just 3 percent, with Italy set to displace Germany as the world’s largest solar PV market.

Although installations have grown considerably, this has not translated into a rise in PV component demand due to high inventory levels; IMS Research estimates that module inventory stands at a huge 10GW, whilst inverter inventory was at an unusually high 6GW. “Despite installations in the second half of the year being almost double those in the first half, most suppliers didn’t see any considerable uptick in orders. This is simply as a result of the high inventory levels in the channel, with customers installing previously purchased modules and inverters”, explained Ash Sharma, Senior Research Director for Photovoltaics at IMS Research.

Italyis set to overtake Germany and become the world’s largest market in 2011, installing 6.8GW of new capacity, in spite of another underwhelming performance this year from the European market. “The upswing in Italian installations won’t be sufficient to counter falls from Germany and the Czech Republic and Europe’s share of global installations will sharply fall from 82% in 2010 to 68% in 2011”, noted Sharma.

Whilst the European market is stagnating, the American and Asian markets are performing well; these two regions will generate 85 percent of the global growth in installations for 2011, with the trend set to continue in 2012.

The report has also updated rankings detailing the top 10 markets in 2011; the new rankings reveal that the UK market is now poised to enter the top 10. “Despite installing just 45MW last year, the UK is set to install more than 500 MW in 2011 and become the 8th largest PV market. The changes to the tariff during the year to prevent large-scale projects and the sudden cuts proposed for December has created a surge in demand”, explained Sharma. 

The full IMS Research report can be viewed on their PV Demand Database.