Read the full press release here.

Global solar photovoltaics (PV) panel production will eclipse 15 gigawatts this year, according to GTM Research’s latest report, PV Technology, Production and Cost Outlook: 2010–2015.  While subsidy cuts in key markets will lead to slower growth in 2011 and beyond, panel production will still exceed 25 gigawatts by 2013. At the same time, increasing competition between suppliers will lead to panel prices of less than $1/watt by 2012 for select technologies.

The report explores current global PV supply chain environments, from polysilicon production to wafer, cell, and module manufacturing. In addition to forecasting production volumes and component prices, the report conducts an extensive examination of PV technology characteristics, producer-specific manufacturing costs, market dynamics, competitive positioning, and business model analysis .


Report Scope and Questions for Competitive Decision Making:

“Over the past 18 months, we have witnessed the global PV industry become more complex and dynamic than ever before,” said Shyam Mehta, the report’s author and a Senior Solar Analyst at GTM Research. “The supply chain has been bombarded with opportunities from scaling demand, and the industry has responded to this competitive dynamic with new, low-cost technologies and more sophisticated business models.”

The industry’s increase in production capacity is also spurring global price competition between PV technologies. While First Solar boasted thin film panel costs of less than $1/watt in early 2010, PV Technology, Production and Cost Outlook: 2010–2015 forecasts the industry will reach its next economic milestone by 2012 when panel prices for the retail market will themselves fall below $1/watt.

“Our global pricing analysis projects higher-cost panel producers to come under significantly more pressure in 2011 as PV continues to become more commoditized and low-cost manufacturers such as First Solar and top-tier Chinese firms add more capacity,” said Mehta. “Whether it be through product differentiation, contract manufacturing, technology innovation, or vertical integration, higher-cost producers will have to develop differentiated business models to stay alive in the long term.”

More information on this report can be found here.