Global solar capacity eclipses 100 gigawatt landmark

Clare Saxon Ghauri
11 February 2013

LONDON: The world’s solar electricity capacity eclipsed a 100 gigawatt landmark last year, according to new market figures from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). 

Global cumulative solar photovoltaic (PV) topped 101 gigawatts in 2012, in yet another positive year for worldwide PV growth. An estimated 30 gigawatts was connected to the grid and made operational, which is around the same amount that was connected in 2011.

Splitting the figures regionally shows the following:

  • 13 gigawatts of installations occurred outside of Europe, which is up from 8 gigawatts in 2011.
  • The top three markets for PV installations outside of Europe are China with over 3.5 gigawatts, the US with over 3 gigawatts and Japan with 2.5 gigawatts.
  • The top three European PV markets are Germany with almost 8 gigawatts, Italy with over 3 gigawatts and France with over 1 gigawatts. 

Final results for the year will be published in the EPIA’s yearly Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013-2017 in May, 2013.

Winfried Hoffmann, President, EPIA said: “No one would have predicted even 10 years ago that we would see more than 100 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity in the world by 2012. The photovoltaic industry clearly faces challenges but the results of 2012 show there is a strong global market for our technology. Even in tough economic times and despite growing regulatory uncertainty, we have nearly managed to repeat the record year of 2011.

He added: “The key going forward will be to address these new market challenges and continue policies that help PV technology to grow sustainably, continuing its evolution to a mainstream electricity source.”

Amy Davidsen, US Director, The Climate Group said: “As solar costs continue to come down, we’re seeing remarkable growth in the US – especially in places like California where strong policies support a favourable investment climate.

"We expect this growth to continue well into the future as the industry matures and the economics of solar become even more competitive.”

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By Clare Saxon

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