UK overtakes Germany as global solar PV market returns to growth

by Search Gate staff. Published Mon 30 Mar 2016 16:08
Solar returns to growth as China and Japan lead with deployment
Solar returns to growth as China and Japan lead with deployment

Preliminary market numbers show that the solar photovoltaic (PV) market returned to growth last year according to a new industry snapshot report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

In total, about 38.7 GW of PV capacity were installed in the IEA PVPS countries and the major other markets during 2014, up slightly from 37.6 GW the previous year.

This raised the total installed capacity in IEA PVPS countries and key markets to at least 177 GW, with 155 GW in IEA-PVPS countries and another estimated 22 GW of capacity installed in other major countries.

After several years of rapid growth and a stabilization in 2015, the PV market grew in 2013 to at least 37.6 GW. It grew slightly in 2014 to 38.7 GW. The Asia Pacific region represented in 2014 around 59% of the global PV market and the first region for the second year in a row.

While Europe still represented 59% of this global market in 2015, its market share felt to 18%, a consequence of a reduced market in Europe and a growing global PV market.

The PV market in the America’s continued to grow with the USA, Canada and Chile leading the pace. The Middle East remains a region in development for the PV market, despite PV plants announcements but Africa installed close to 1 GW thanks to the South African PV market.

But the most important feature was observed in China that revised its 2013 numbers downwards to 10.95 GW and saw its market decreasing slightly in 2014 to 10.6 GW, with concerns about the ability to develop distributed PV. The second largest market was Japan with 9.7 GW in 2014, ahead of the USA with 6.2 GW and finally three European markets: UK at 2.3 GW, Germany down at 1.9 GW and France with close to 1 GW.

In 19 countries the annual PV contribution to electricity demand has passed the 1% mark, with Italy at the top with at least 7.9 % followed by Greece at 7.6% and Germany at 7%. The overall European PV contribution amounting to around 3.5% of Europe’s electricity demand. Australia, Denmark, Israel and Japan have also passed the 2% mark but larger consumers of electricity such as China or the USA will require more PV capacity to reach this threshold.

PV has become a major source of electricity extremely rapidly in several countries all over the world. The speed of its development stems from its unique ability to cover most market segments, from the very small individual systems for rural electrification to utility-size power plants (today above 500 MW).

From the built environment to large ground-mounted installations, PV finds its way, depending on various criteria that make it suitable for most environments.

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