31.1 GW of PV capacity was installed Globally in 2012

Thursday, May 9, 2013 0 comments

The year 2012 was another historic one for solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, which has experienced remarkable growth over the past decade and is on the way to becoming a mature and mainstream source of electricity. The world’s cumulative PV capacity surpassed the impressive 100-gigawatt (GW) installed electrical power mark, achieving just over 102 GW. This capacity is capable of producing as much annual electrical energy as 16 coal power plants or nuclear reactors of 1 GW each and each year these PV installations save more than 53 million tons of CO2. 

Remarkably, even during a time of economic crisis, an estimated 31 GW of new PV capacity was commissioned around the world in 2012 – roughly the same as in the record-setting year of 2011. But even if the headline numbers remain stable, the story behind them is changing dramatically. 

The results of 2012 signal a turning point in the global PV market that will have profound implications in the coming years. For the first time in more than a decade, the European market for PV declined compared to the previous year. More vigorous growth in markets outside of Europe helped keep the global development of PV on an upward trajectory. Other factors – the approaching competitiveness of PV compared to other electricity sources, the changing nature of electricity markets, trade conflicts and the turmoil facing the PV industry due to consolidation – are also already affecting the market outlook for the near future.

Europe Still has a lot of Potential:

According to the latest report (link), released by EPIA 

 Around the world 31.1 GW of PV systems were installed in 2012, up from 30.4 GW in 2011; PV remains, after hydro and wind power, the third most important renewable energy source in terms of globally installed capacity. 

• 17.2 GW of PV capacity were connected to the grid in Europe in 2012, compared to 22.4 GW in 2011; Europe still accounts for the predominant share of the global PV market, with 55% of all new capacity in 2012.

• Germany was the top market for the year, with 7.6 GW of newly connected systems; followed by China with an estimated 5 GW; Italy with 3.4 GW; the USA with 3.3 GW; and Japan with an estimated 2 GW.

• For the second year in a row, PV was the number-one new source of electricity generation
installed in Europe.

• Under a pessimistic Business-as-Usual scenario, the global annual market could reach 48 GW in 2017; under a Policy-Driven scenario, it could be as high as 84 GW in 2017.

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