January 18, 2011 09:08 ET

Shipments of Photovoltaic Cells to Grow 38% Through 2015

ROCKVILLE, MD--(Marketwire - January 18, 2011) - has announced the addition of BCC Research's new report "Photovoltaics: Global Markets and Technologies" to their collection of Energy market reports. For more information, visit

PV technology dates back to the 1950s and the advent of the space program, but the concerted effort to develop this technology for industry and consumer use began during the oil embargoes of the 1970s. The eventual stabilization of oil prices had a dampening effect on investment, tax credits, and government funding for research and development.

Despite these challenges, the development of PV and its materials continued and, in the late 1990s, R&D funding, cost-shared programs, and industry activity once again increased. The growth rate of this technology has been exceptionally high reaching annual growth rates of 30% to 40% and higher over the past two decades.

In the first decade of the 21st century, oil prices surged as demand rose at unprecedented rates. PV once again took the spotlight as an emerging technology. Companies in the PV business have focused on reaching grid parity -- the meeting of cost for fossil fuel and solar energy -- as a way to broaden the scope of PV. Nations and individual states began to offer serious incentives such as tariffs and tax credits for solar customers. Consequently, we were interested in looking at this industry once again to chart its potential.

Global shipments of photovoltaic cells/modules reached 11,102 megawatts in 2010, and are expected to reach 55,621 megawatts by 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38%.

The value of materials was estimated at $21.8 million in 2009 and $26.5 million in 2010. Improved manufacturing methods and efficiencies will reduce the actual quantities of materials used in solar cells and the value of materials will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.3% through 2015 to reach a value of $47 million.

The value of global module shipments was estimated at $32.4 million in 2009 and $41.2 million in 2010. The value of shipments will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6% from 2010 to 2015 because of economies of scale and more efficient PV production methods, reaching a value of nearly $78 million.

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