Solar PV installations continue to grow exponentially
13th June 2012
The global market for solar PV continues to show phenomenal growth, even during times of financial and economic crisis. Nearly 70 GW were installed in 2011, according to the latest report from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, which includes forecasts to 2016. This amount of energy is sufficient to cover the annual power supply of over 20 million households.
In terms of global cumulative installed capacity, Europe still leads the way, with more than 51 GW installed as of 2011. This represents 75% of the world's total PV capacity. Next in the ranking are Japan (5 GW) and the USA (4.4 GW), followed by China (3.1 GW).
However, the report notes:
Such a rapid growth rate cannot be expected to last forever ... and the industry is now weathering a period of uncertainty in the short-term.
European markets where PV has developed vigorously in recent years have reached a level that will be difficult to maintain in the two coming years.
In order to maintain the trends we have seen until 2011, the PV industry will need to diversify markets across several countries, to relieve the pressure on Germany and allow markets that have gone bust to revive in a sustainable way. New markets around the world will have to be opened up to drive PV development in the coming decade.
It goes on to say:
But over the medium- and long-terms, the prospects for continued robust growth are good. The results of 2011 – and indeed the outlook for the next several years – show that under the right policy conditions PV can continue its progress towards competitiveness in key electricity markets and become a mainstream energy source.