Over the past decade, the photovoltaic (PV) market has experienced unprecedented growth. In particular in the last year, the photovoltaic market has reached a cumulative installed capacity of roughly 40 GW world-wide, with an annual added capacity of 16.6 GW. The photovoltaic power is well on the way to becoming a fully competitive part
of the electricity system in the European Union (EU) and an increasingly important part of the energy mix around the Globe. But much of the progress in recent years has been very heterogeneous, varying from country to country, due to several factors, the most important being different national regulations and incentive schemes as well as varying availability of financing facilities.
These are just some of the findings in EPIA’s Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics until 2015, a key publication for the PV industry. Based on an internal analysis of market data from industry members, national associations, government agencies and electric utilities, the figures presented in this edition were discussed among the world’s principal actors in the photovoltaic industry during the 6th EPIA Market Workshop, held in Paris in March 2011.
For years, EPIA has put a great deal of effort into observing and analysing PV markets. Thanks to its intimate contact with key players in the industry, national PV associations and its deep knowledge of PV policies and support schemes, EPIA market figures are a credible and authoritative source of short-term market forecasts as well as long-term scenarios.
With the massive growth of the PV market, data reliability is becoming a crucial issue: industry players, electric utilities and policy makers must count on reliable data to orientate their decisions, launch investments or plan updates on legislation. EPIA advocates the availability of quick, transparent and reliable market information and,
therefore, encourages the adoption of effective monitoring systems.
A doubling of the market in 2010
The PV industry experienced significant growth in 2010. Capacity additions grew from 7.2 gigawatts (GW) installed in 2009 to 16.6 GW in 2010. The total installed capacity in the world now amounts to around 40 GW, producing some 50 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electrical power every year.
This major increase was linked to the rapid growth of the German and Italian markets. With 7.4 GW installed in Germany in just one year, the country continues to dominate the PV market world-wide. Italy installed 2.3 GW, starting to exploit some of the potential of its huge solar resources. Other countries also saw significant growth. The Czech Republic experienced a burst to 1.5 GW in 2010 that is, however, unlikely to be sustained in 2011.
Japan and the USA almost reached the gigawatt mark with 990 and 900 megawatts (MW) respectively, installed last year. France reached over 700 MW, while Spain regained some ground by installing 370 MW after two years of strongly adverse conditions. Belgium connected more than 420 MW of PV capacity to the grid in 2010. The entire European Union installed slightly more than 13 GW of PV capacity in 2010 while the rest of the world accounted for over 3 GW.