21 November 2012 – Europe currently leads the solar PV market, but the ongoing impact of the ongoing Euro zone crisis is expected to lead to a drastic decline, says energy expert GlobalData. In one of its reports it names Europe the largest solar PV backsheet market in the world, with the region accounting for 72.1% of global backsheet installed capacity. However, the maturing market and struggling national finances are expected to cause global solar backsheet revenues to fall in 2012.
Germany represents the largest market for PV backsheets in the world, registering revenues of around US$537.7 million in 2011. The German company Krempel is currently the global leader in backsheet manufacturing, producing between 63 and 69 million square meters of backsheets in 2011. Historical market growth can be attributed to an increase in sales resulting from multi MW PV installations in the country. However, reduced government support and a low investment scenario resulting from the Euro zone crisis will damage the German PV backsheet market, which is already maturing and perhaps reaching domestic saturation. Manufacturers are therefore looking to expand the export market for PV backsheets, and exponential growth in the Asia-Pacific region has created a sizable potential market. The market in Germany is expected to generate estimated revenues of US$65.1 million in 2020.
Italy is the second largest PV market in the world, and has an export-oriented market for solar backsheets. The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program supports the development of solar PV, and continued revisions to the Conto Energia FIT scheme have so far moulded to the development of the solar PV market itself. However, financial instability is predicted to lead solar PV investments into a sharp decline, making project financing a major challenge for solar PV firms. A market recovery from 2013 onwards will be aided by the expiry of registration duties introduced by the government in 2011, and backsheet price reductions will keep market revenues constant.
European PV backsheet installed capacity increased from 949 MW in 2006 to 15,491 MW in 2011 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 75%, but is expected to amount to 12,888 MW by 2020 at a negative CAGR of 2%. From 2012 onward, the market is set to recover with the support of relevant government policies and incentives, with countries such as the Czech Republic, Portugal, Greece and Bulgaria increasing their presence in the PV market, but the economic crash in Europe will take its toll nonetheless.