The crystalline solar photovoltaic market was a $28.3 billion industry in 2010 and is on track to hit $118.4 billion by 2017, according to a report from New York-based market analytics firm ResearchMoz.
The dramatic surge in the solar market over the seven-year period is the result of increasing global demand for solar PV panels and strong manufacturing.
Solar panel prices dropped after manufacturers ramped up solar panel production in 2010. The lower prices have made solar energy cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources in certain countries, driving demand.
In other countries, awareness and social policies has promoted solar energy adoption and government incentives that encourage added solar electricity generation capacity.
“Growth of solar markets will depend on continued investment in energy infrastructure by governments,” according to the report. “When you think about it, there is no better investment government can make than in achieving development of low cost, reliable solar energy. This availability of low cost energy is what makes an economy hum. Some governments are sure to recognize these issues and make the investment, others will not.”
Energy demand in general is growing globally as developing countries become more industrial and commercial and begin requiring more energy.
“Demand for energy is doubling every 15 years,” according to the report. “The major effort is to sustain growth in the electricity supply without causing irreversible harm to the environment. Solar energy has rapidly grown as a clean, renewable alternative to limited fossil fuels.”
Some solar manufacturers are better positioned than others to benefit from the growing worldwide demand for solar. Several solar panel manufacturers suffered through the recent period of oversupply and went out of business or were absorbed by larger and healthier solar panel manufacturers. The strong companies that have emerged from the solar market slump have a significant opportunity.
Companies with research and development teams, their own facilities and access to low-cost engineering expertise will have advantages, especially when it comes to increasing solar panel efficiencies and gaining market differentiation, according to the ResearchMoz report.