However, the results of 2012 and the forecast for the coming years show that Europe’s leading role in driving the global PV market is coming to an end.
In 2011, Europe accounted for more than 70 per cent of the world’s new PV installations; in 2012 this number was around 55 per cent. In 2013 it is almost certain that the majority of new PV capacity in the world will be installed outside of Europe.
In a statement, Winfried Hoffmann, EPIA president said, ‘The results of 2012 signal a turning point that will have profound implications in the coming years.
‘The global PV market is shifting from one driven mostly by Europe to one that also depends on countries around the world with varying degrees of solar potential and the political will to exploit it.
‘But some things will not change. Even in challenging times, the prospects going forward for solar PV - a clean, safe and infinitely renewable power source - remain solid, especially the medium- to long-term.
‘The main questions are how and where continued PV growth will occur, and how committed policymakers are to making it happen.’
The major findings for 2012 include:
- 31.1GW of PV systems were installed globally in 2012, up from 30.4GW in 2011; PV remains, after hydro and wind power, the third most important renewable energy source in terms of globally installed capacity
- 17.2GW of PV capacity were connected to the grid in Europe in 2012, compared to 22.4GW in 2011; Europe still accounts for the predominant share of the annual global PV market, with 55 per cent of all new capacity in 2012
- For the second year in a row, PV was the number-one new source of electricity generation installed in Europe; PV now covers 2.6 per cent of the electricity demand and 5.2 per cent of the peak electricity demand in Europe
- Germany was the top market in 2012, with 7.6GW of newly connected systems; followed by China with an estimated 5GW; Italy with 3.4GW; the USA with 3.3GW; and Japan with an estimated 2GW
- Under a Business-as-Usual scenario, the global annual market could reach 48GW in 2017; under a Policy-Driven scenario, it could be as high as 84GW in 2017