Record sales for solar PV cells in 2009


Manufacturers of solar PV cells produced 10,700 MW of product around the world in 2009, setting a new record, according to a recent Eco-Economy Indicators Report by the Earth Policy Institute (Washington, DC). The 10,700 MW represented a 51% increase over 2008 production levels—less than the dramatic 89% growth in 2008 but still continuing the rapid industry growth since 2004. As of the end of 2009, nearly 23,000 MW of solar PV capacity had been installed worldwide. The report said that thin-film PV is gaining ground on crystalline silicon technology, and that thin-film PV cell maker First Solar (Tempe, AZ) is now providing about 10% of global PV cell supply. In terms of nation-by-nation production, China was the leader in 2009 with 3,800 MW of capacity produced. Together, China and third-place Taiwan accounted for 49% of all PV cell manufacturing capacity, a share that should keep climbing as companies there grow larger and more quickly than competitors based in countries where operating costs are higher, the report said.

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