Global PV Shipments Jump 15% in 2014

Reading time ( words)

PV industry shipments grew by 15% in 2014 over 2013 to 39.3-GWp from 34.0-GWp the previous year, according to the IDTechEx/SPV Market Research annual supply report Photovoltaic Manufacturer Shipments: Capacity, Production, Prices and Revenues to 2019. Supply side inventory was 1.1-GWp at the end of 2014 and demand side inventory decreased by 400-MWp to 2.4-GWp. Defective modules removed from service were ~1.6-GWp at the end of 2014.

Thin film shipments (CdTe, CIGS, a-Si) represented 7% of the global total in 2014, heavily weighted by First Solar's CdTe technology. Figure 1 offers PV technology shares for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

During the mid-2000s the European Feed in Tariff incentive model drove strong demand for photovoltaic systems and technologies. This period of strong demand coincided with a shortage of polysilicon processing capability. Constrained capacity of crystalline products and higher prices for available product spurred interest in thin film technologies and investment in these technologies ramped. It was assumed that thin film technologies would eventually be less expensive to manufacture than crystalline technologies, that conversion efficiencies for thin films would improve, and that thin films would take steadily take share from crystalline. For a couple of years it appeared that this might be the case. In 2008 thin film technologies had a 14% share, up from 7% in 2006, and in 2009 thin film's share of global shipments increased to 17%. Figure 1 offers photovoltaic technology shares for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.


Figure 1: Photovoltaic Crystalline and Thin Film Shipment Shares, 2011-2014.

Source: IDTechEx and SPV Market Research report "Photovoltaic Manufacturer Shipments: Capacity, Production, Prices and Revenues to 2019" (

Thin film technologies, in particular, amorphous silicon, once enjoyed a significantly stronger share albeit in a smaller overall market. Amorphous silicon made its commercial market entry in 1982 and from 1982 through 1992 grew at a compound annual rate of 30%. During this same period, the market for all photovoltaic technologies grew by a compound annual rate of 22%.

Timing is often everything, and a-Si's commercial debut coincided with the early success of the consumer indoor application (solar powered calculators, watches and other small typically handheld devices). The use of a-Si with its reasonably good performance in low light conditions and liquid crystal displays displaced the former LED (light-emitting diode) displays on early calculator models. By the late 1980, the consumer indoor market was saturated. It rapidly began decreasing. Figure 2 tracks the percentage contribution of photovoltaic technologies to total shipments from 1983 through 2014.


Figure 2: Crystalline and Thin Film Contribution to Total Shipments, 1983-2014.

Source: IDTechEx and SPV Market Research report "Photovoltaic Manufacturer Shipments: Capacity, Production, Prices and Revenues to 2019" (

In 2009, the shortage of crystalline module product eased, and prices for crystalline modules began decreasing. This led, almost immediately, to a slowing of demand for thin film technologies. During the mid to late 2000s, new entrants had invested in turnkey thin film manufacturing facilities hoping for a more rapid ramp. This rapid ramp to commercial production did not, by in large, happen and with the price of higher conversion efficiency crystalline product decreasing rapidly the competitive position of thin film technologies began to diminish. The exception to the eroding share for thin film technologies is First Solar with its CdTe technology. First Solar currently primarily uses its CdTe panels for its in-house system's business. Regionally, thin film production is most active in the US, Japan and Malaysia.

Figure 3 offers regional contribution to photovoltaic technology shipments in 2014.


Figure 3: Regional Contribution to Crystalline and Thin Film Shipments, 2014.

Source: IDTechEx and SPV Market Research report "Photovoltaic Manufacturer Shipments: Capacity, Production, Prices and Revenues to 2019" (

Interest and investment in thin film technologies continues. China's Hanergy acquired US CIGS manufacturer MiaSole as well as US flexible CIGS manufacturer Global Solar and the former Q-Cells CIGS business in Europe. There is demand for lighter weight photovoltaic panels and a lack of commercial or near commercial availability of PV technology to fulfil this demand. In particular, China has strong interest in rooftop solar, but unfortunately, inappropriate roof construction for currently available PV product.

Additional analysis about current trends in global photovoltaic technology can be found in the IDTechEx/SPV Market Research annual supply report Photovoltaic Manufacturer Shipments: Capacity, Production, Prices and Revenues to 2019 as well as the Solar Flare Executive Series published six times a year.

About IDTechEx

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research and Events services, helping you profit from emerging technologies. We provide independent research, business intelligence and advice to companies across the value chain based on our core research activities and methodologies providing data sought by business leaders, strategists and emerging technology scouts to aid their business decisions.

Learn more at and to discuss your needs please contact us on   


Suggested Items

Telecom (Compute and Storage) Infrastructure Market to Reach $16.35B in 2022

09/03/2018 | IDC
A new forecast from IDC sizes the market for compute and storage infrastructure for Telecoms at nearly $10.81 billion in 2017. However, as Telecoms aggressively build out their infrastructure, IDC projects this market to see a healthy five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2% with purchases totaling $16.35 billion in 2022.

What’s Coming in 3D Printing Technology in 2018

12/27/2017 | Cullen Hilkene, 3Diligent
First, the arrival of extrusion metal printing. Today's extrusion printers are the most prevalent and, arguably, user-friendly 3D Printers in the market. Now, after years of there being zero metal extrusion printers, there will be two in the new year from Desktop Metal and Markforged. These technologies promise new materials and a higher degree of user friendliness for metal printing.

Global LED Market Expected to Record a CAGR of close to 17% until 2020

05/26/2016 | Business Wire
This research report titled ‘Global LED Market 2016-2020’ provides an in-depth analysis of market growth in terms of revenue and emerging market trends. The market size is calculated on the basis of revenue generated from four segments, including general lighting, backlighting, automotive lighting, and others.

Copyright © 2018 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.