The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
Trefis) -- The global solar market jumped by 40% in 2011, despite subsidy cuts in several major markets. According to industry research firm Solarbuzz, installations jumped to about 27.4 GW last year, driven by new production capacity and price cuts. Industry revenue increased by 12% in the same year, a result of lower prices (and margins) for equipment manufacturers like
European demand continued to drive the market, with the region accounting for 68% of global capacity. However, the top two markets -- Germany and Italy -- have announced large cuts this year to curtail additional installations, which could hurt demand going ahead in 2012.
Major MarketsThree of the top five markets for solar equipment were from the European Union. Market leader Germany and other countries have announced sharp cuts in subsidy support to solar electricity to curtail capacity additions. Germany installed close to 7.5 GW of solar capacity in 2011, more than double the government's target for the year. Installations have risen despite cuts because of a sharp drop in equipment prices, which has hurt panel manufacturers like SunPower. The German government is, therefore, looking to revise subsidies every month to better control solar installations going ahead. Other countries in Europe are also taking similar steps, pushed by the need to tighten budget deficits. Industry participants hope that falling demand from Europe could be replaced by sales in growing markets such as the U.S., China and India. China became the third largest market for solar equipment in 2011 and is expected to grow even further this year. Higher installations in China could help reduce the impact of the overcapacity situation that is troubling SunPower and other panel manufacturers, by pulling down prices and margins.
Click here to find out how a company's products impact its stock price at Trefis. Like our charts? Embed them in your own posts using the Trefis Wordpress Plugin.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV