Webinar: Paula Mints on Global PV Demand in 2011 and Beyond

Paula Mints of Navigant Consulting was kind enough to be the guinea pig kick off our Webinar Series (Get Some Sun).  The first session featured Paula’s PV market prognostications for 2011 and beyond, and despite some audio difficulties (sorry! doing forensic analysis to prevent future issues), it went very well.

The show was recorded for posterity, view the WMV file of the full show here, and the Powerpoint here (pdf).

Below we have posted Paula’s answers to the questions that she was not able to get to during the presentation.

Q: Paula – fantastic presentation. How significant a factor is low cost natural gas from hydraulic fracturing to the future of the PV market in the US. – David Hochschild, Solaria

A: –Very significant – low cost NG makes the switching costs to other energy forms higher.   Of course, fracking has its own issues …

Q: What do you see for the industry long-term? Will the exponential growth continue asymptoting to 100% of our energy supply or will we hit limits?

A:Exponential growth such as the PV industry has experienced is an example of a very young industry – and has only been possible with FiTs. With current changes, I’d say no.

Q: what are units of measure in this chart (slide 13)? or are they a weighing

A weighing.

Q: would love to see chart displayed that breaks out Residential, Small Commercial (30 kW and under), large commercial, and Utility Scale

I have that, J, of course, it is a market research staple.  I did not put this chart in for this presentation.

Q: 95%???  Is there 750MW of off-grid applications

Unfortunately I forgot the add the > to the 95%, so, in 2010, ~975 is grid connected, so, off grid is ~3% of ~16-GWp (not done counting) for about 480-MWp.

Q: Are 2010 numbers final, or is this a first estimate?

I am not done counting supply yet, then I cross check with the demand survey and then I am done – however, I am always counting, so, this is very close.

Q: What countries are RoW?  12% a lot, can’t be mostly Korea???

If you are talking about supply – which I think you are, there is Malaysia (primarily First Solar, but also SunPower and Q-Cells), Singapore, the Phillipines and India, primarily

Q: Can she just provide a slide with her 1.9 us accelerated forecast broken out by comml, utlity owned, resi, etc.? the actual breakdown of numbers in the current forecast for 2011 (and later?) would be helpful. This is what I had hoped to learn based on the title of the webcast

I’d be happy to during the next webcast

Q: what is the utility owned percentage? she didn’t finish her thought

In the U.S. in 2010 8%

Q: she gave a range for everything except commercial, where she said 57%

I was looking at a spreadsheet when I said 57% J

Q: off-grid-8-10%, utility 8-10%, resi 30-32%, but what about comml?

So, I was pulling numbers a bit from the air until I got my spreadsheet up – for 2010 57% commercial, 32% residential, 8% utility and 3% off grid, so, I was thinking back a couple of years on the off grid. The MWS are growing for off grid, the share is shrinking in the U.S..  For example, in 2002, 39% of U.S. demand was off grid – everything from consumer power (battery charging for example) to water pumping to off grid homes to telecommunications.

Q: What is the thinking in comparison in growth in ground mounted arrays as commercial parking lot structures, utility scale PV, brownfields, wineries,… and commercial rooftop arrays ?

All these sub applications fall into the commercial application – and all are growing, though, multi-megawatt (utility scale) most significantly.  Of all of these, only brownfields are relatively new, and you could just lump this is with multi-megawatt.  Essentially, it is typically judged as off or on roof, and size of installation.

Q: Since you’ve mentioned about thin films, what’s the view about its advantages at diffused light, etc.?  Seems that is the major advantage argument now with the low-cost factor gone.  Is mid-east really looking for the thin film solar solution?

The mid east is not looking for a thin film solution, per say. In some cases for various reasons thin films are preferred. Essentially, it is a cost argument. Higher efficiency technologies are less expensive to install (this is very general) and when you add low cost c-Si in the mix, it is problematic for TF competitively.

Q: pg 11 Annual or Cumulative?


Q: What dynamics do you see in the distribution chain? There seems to be a significant difference in distribution structure between the EU and US. In the EU distributors play a major role, in the US manufacturers seem to sell directly much more. How do you see this evolving in relation to your comments on vertical integration?

This is a complex question requiring a complex and rather long answer – in short – vertical integration is a cost to a manufacturer as well as a plus competitively.  Certainly we have seen a lot of it and in the U.S. it makes sense given the trend to larger installations (multi-megawatt).

Q: What does “all technologies” mean? Do you mean all PV technologies i.e. c-Si, a-Si, CIGS, etc?

I assume you are referring to my comment about shipments – so, yes, c-Si, and all thin films. If you are referring to demand, then all solar technologies including CSP and CPV. Hopefully I am correct.

Q: What was the % Paula mentioned for share of large projects as a % of total market as of 2012?

I didn’t actually mention this and would prefer to wait until I spend some time with a whole bunch of data.  J  Next webinar.

Q: Referring back to the state ranking slide what was the first column referring to 2014?

H, Medium or low

Q: So, what are the market share numbers for the various thin film module makers, other than First Solar, of course?

I am not done counting, but, with FS at ~9% this only leaves 4% for everyone else. This will be in my supply report and again, I have to finish counting.

Q: Is any thin film module maker (other than First Solar) profitable?  Will any become profitable in 2011?

I think this is answered in another question above.

Q: How much does rising silver prices impact PV production?

When you consider that everything matters, not much.

Q: When you say that 68% of the market will be commercial and utility, is that percentage of projects, or of installed capacity?

% of MWs, and this was more of a hypothetical, but close to my real number.

Q: in the previous slide, you are counting modules, right?  thanks.

What is the previous slide?  I am counting technology whether it is shipped as a module or a cell.

Q: You mentioned the definition of grid parity means different things within the industry. But, I  thought I heard you say it truly means leadership? Could you clarify?

I did not say that, I basically said that it means nothing – all it does is make solar competitive with conventional energy, which is subsidized.

Q: With hiccups in announced poly capacity additions, how do you forecast the poly price through the end of 2012?

I wouldn’t refer to them as hiccups – I, and others I respect, such as Richard Winegarner, an expert in Poly and a good person to give a webinar Adam!  — go through a lot to figure out what is real from what is an announcement.

Q: how long it will take US to take over the lead in PV from Europe?

I don’t think that taking over the demand side lead right now would be a good thing – I assume you are referring to the market. Not for a few years yet.

Q: do you think that the US Market has a chance without rebates and incentives

Yes, but a lower margin chance

Q: Could you address how far behind data (or studies you rely on) lags behind your research, in general? Thanks

Basically, I am always researching so my data are always current.

Q: How are Google. Home Depot and others doing with encouraging home owners to install PV on their roofs?


Q: insight into thin film. Pricing as well as increased production.

What insight are you looking for?  Prices are down, increasing capacity given current constraints would be an iffy proposition.

Q: Do you see an efficiency parity between thin film and mono silicon panels? When would you expect to see this happen?


Q: How do you see the breakdown of the market between residential, commercial and utility scale changing over the next few years?

I think that utility and commercial ground will outpace residential, but (and I am referring to the U.S. here) the residential app will remain about 30%.

Q: Your forecast for 2011 shows continued growth. How do the changes in FiT prices in Europe impact this growth.

I have more than one forecast – I have three.  I think 2011 will be okay, 2012 could be gloomy.

Q: Question: Can Paula further break down the Grid Connected 95% of sales into how much went into Comm, residential and utility segments? (Thx, Robin Shaffer)

For the global numbers – first, it is >95%, right now – and, data are still coming in … it is 67% commercial, 32% residential and 1% utility owned of >16-GWp.