The pulse of the European solar photovoltaic (PV) market (solar panels on rooftops) in the first half of 2010 was dominated by the impending mid-year incentive tariff reductions in Germany and conditioned by the lower module pricing that transpired in 2009 according to the latest news published in Europe PV Markets 2010 , made available July 15.

Alan turner, Vice President of European Market Research for Solarbuzz states that despite the robust end-market demand, which was one-third higher in Germany in the first half of 2010 than in the second half of 2009, the first PV module price increases of 2010 did not take hold until June 2010. And the increases in euro terms only partially compensated for the crumbling price scenario in dollar terms caused by the euro's major decline against the dollar. Solar photovoltaics are capable of producing a voltage, usually through photoemission, when exposed to radiant energy, especially light. According to Turner, the PV industry has gone from boom to bust and back to boom within a cycle of less than two years from the downturn in Spain late in 2008 to the current surge in Germany. On that basis, it is difficult to predict stability over the next five years. The main problem is the continued dependence of the PV industry on market incentives, the cost of which become political issues when programs run over budget.

Current forecasts indicate the new mechanism of tariff adjustment in Germany will be effective in curtailing the German market during 2011-2012. Despite this, there remains a potential upswing in 2011 because of an aggressive pricing environment. But counteracting that is the European policy of tightening budgets as governments try to reduce the economic burden of their national incentive programs.

What Turner suggests is that downstream solar companies look for a more geographical portfolio that balances materiality and growth, rather than continue their high risk strategy of concentrating on individual country markets. Photo by California Solar Solutions on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.