Growth of photovoltaics

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Worldwide Growth of Photovoltaics
Cumulative Capacity in Megawatts [MWp] Grouped by Region[1]:17
25,000
50,000
75,000
100,000
125,000
150,000
2000
2002
2004
2006
2008
2010
2012
Year end 2010 2011 2012 2013
Capacity (MWp) 40,300 70,500 100,500 138,900
Growth (year-to-year) 73% 75% 43% 38%
Installed PV in watts per capita by country

Worldwid PV capacity in watts per capita by country in 2013.

   none or unknown
   0.1 - 10 watts
   10 - 100 watts
   100 - 200 watts
   200 - 400 watts
   400 - 600 watts
Exponential growth-curve on a semi-log scale

Exponential growth-curve on a semi-log scale, show a straight line since 1992

Worldwide growth of photovoltaics has been fitting an exponential curve for more than two decades. When photovoltaics—or solar PV—was recognized as a promising source for renewable energy, programs, such as feed-in tariffs, were implemented by a number of governments in order to provide economic incentives for investments in this technology. For several years, growth was mainly driven by pioneering European countries, especially during their boom period from 2006 to 2012. As a consequence, production increased and prices declined significantly, even more so when China started to ramp up its production of solar cells and panels.[2] Since then, photovoltaics is gaining momentum on a worldwide scale, mostly in Asia but also in North America and other regions, where solar PV is now increasingly competing with conventional energy sources.

Projections for photovoltaic growth are difficult and burdened with many uncertainties. Official agencies, such as the International Energy Agency consistently increased their estimates over the years, but still fell short of actual deployment.[3][4]

Historically, the United States had been the leader of installed photovoltaics for many years, and its total capacity amounted to 77 megawatts in 1996—more than any other country in the world at the time. Then, Japan stayed ahead as the world's leader of produced solar electricity until 2005, when Germany took the lead. The country is currently approaching the 40,000 megawatt mark. China is expected to continue its rapid growth and to triple its PV capacity to 70,000 megawatts by 2017, becoming the world's largest producer of photovoltaic power.[1][5]

By the end of 2013, worldwide installed photovoltaic capacity reached 139 gigawatts (GW), sufficient to supply close to 1 percent of global electricity demands. In 2014, an estimated 45 GW was installed, with 50–55 GW forecasted for 2015. Worldwide PV capacity is projected to double or even triple to 430 GW by 2018, and by 2050, solar power is expected to become the world's largest source of electricity, with solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar thermal contributing 16 and 11 percent, respectively. This will require PV capacity to grow to 4,600 GW, of which more than half is expected to be deployed in China and India.[1][6]

Current status[edit]

Europe: 81,488 MW (58.7%) APAC: 21,992 MW (15.8%) China: 18,600 MW (13.4%) Americas: 13,727 MW (9.9%) MEA: 953 MW (0.7%) RoW: 2,098 MW (1.5%)Circle frame.svg
  •   Europe: 81,488 MW (58.7%)
  •   APAC: 21,992 MW (15.8%)
  •   China: 18,600 MW (13.4%)
  •   Americas: 13,727 MW (9.9%)
  •   MEA: 953 MW (0.7%)
  •   RoW: 2,098 MW (1.5%)
Worldwide cumulative PV capacity by region in 2013[1]:17


Circle frame.svg

Added solar PV capacity in 2013[7]

  China & Taiwan (31.2%)
  Japan (18.0%)
  United States (12.4%)
  Canada (1.2%)
  Germany (8.6%)
  Italy (3.8%)
  United Kingdom (4.0%)
  Rest of Europe (9.5%)
  India (2.9%)
  Australia (2.2%)
  South Korea (1.2%)
  Thailand (0.8%)
  Rest of the World (4.3%)

Current status describes worldwide, regional and national solar PV deployment for 2013. Estimates for 2014/15 can be found in section "forecast". Final deployment figures for 2014 are reported in April/May 2015, when IEA-PVPS and EPIA will release their annual reports.

This article frequently uses kilowatt (kW), megawatt (MW), gigawatt (GW) and terawatt (TW), and in most cases, only the unit's symbol is used.

Worldwide[edit]

In 2013, worldwide deployment of solar PV amounted to 38,400 megawatts about 28 percent or 8,400 MW more than the year before. This is a new all time record in the history of global PV growth (see section History of deployment for more details). Cumulated PV capacity increased by 38 percent to a running total of 139 GW.[1]:9 This is sufficient to generate at least 160 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity every year and about 0.85 percent of the electricity demand on the planet.[8]:13

Regions[edit]

In 2013, Asia has been the fastest growing region, with China and Japan accounting for 49% of worldwide deployment. About a quarter has been installed in Europe (10,975 MW). The remaining quarter of the 38,400 MW deployed in 2013 is split between North America and other countries.

Europe is still the most developed region with a cumulative capacity of 81.5 GW, about 59 percent of the global total, followed by the Asia-Pacific region (APAC), including countries such as Japan, India and Australia with 22 GW or about 16 percent of worldwide cumulative capacity (due to its significance, China is excluded from the APAC region in all PV statistics and listed separately). European solar PV now covers 3 percent of the electricity demand and 6 percent of the peak electricity demand. However, deployment in Europe has slowed down by half compared to the record year of 2011, and will most likely continue to decrease. This is mainly due to the strong decline of new installations in Germany and Italy.[1]:18

Countries[edit]

In 2013, the world's top installer were China (+11.8 GW), followed by Japan (+6.9 GW) and the United States (+4.75 GW), while Germany remained the world's largest overall producer of power from solar PV, with a total capacity around 36 GW and contributing 5.7% to its net electricity consumption. Italy met more than 7% of its electricity demands with solar PV, thus leading the world in that respect.

The top ten leading countries in terms of deployed and overall PV-capacity are shown below (see section Deployment by country for a complete list). Other mentionable PV deployments above the 100-megawatt mark included France (613 MW), Canada (444 MW), Korea (442 MW), Thailand (317 MW), The Netherlands (305 MW), Switzerland (300 MW), Ukraine (290 MW), Austria (250 MW), Denmark (216 MW), Belgium (215 MW), Israel (183 MW), Taiwan (170 MW) and Spain (115 MW).

Top 10 PV-Countries of Year 2013 in (MW)
Added Capacity
1. China China 11,800
2. Japan Japan 6,900
3. United States United States 4,800
4. Germany Germany 3,300
5. United Kingdom UK 1,546
6. Italy Italy 1,448
7. India India 1,115
8. Romania Romania 1,100
9. Greece Greece 1,040
10. Australia Australia 848
Total Capacity
1. Germany Germany 35,715
2. China China 18,600
3. Italy Italy 17,928
4. Japan Japan 13,600
5. United States United States 12,022
6. Spain Spain 5,340
7. France France 4,673
8. United Kingdom UK 3,375
9. Australia Australia 3,250
10. Belgium Belgium 2,983

Data from IEA-PVPS A Snapshot of Global PV report, released in April[8]:14 and partially updated with figures from EPIA's Global Market Outlook 2014-2018 report, released in June.[1]:24
Nameplate capacity given in direct current (DC) megawatt-peak (MWp)[1]:15[8]:10

Forecast[edit]

Projected Global Growth (MW)
100,000
200,000
300,000
400,000
500,000
2010
2012
2014
2016
2018
EPIA's short-term growth projection of global cumulative solar PV capacity in MW.[1]:42
      installed worldwide capacity of previous years
      estimated figure for 2014
      low scenario (projection)
      additional capacity for high scenario

Estimate for 2014[edit]

In October 2014, IHS[9] and NPD Solarbuzz[10] confirmed expectations of global PV deployment to reach between 45–50 GW for year 2014, or about 20 percent above last year's previous record. In January 2015, Deutsche Bank revised its worldwide deployment estimate for 2014 from 49 GW to 45 GW, as well as its 2015-forecast.[11]

Added capacities for top installers in 2014:

  1. China: 10.6 GW (total: 30 GW)[12]
  2. Japan: 9.1 GW (total: 23 GW)[9]
  3. United States: 6.5 GW (total: 18.5 GW)[13]
  4. United Kingdom: 3.1 GW (total: 6.5 GW)[9]

Global cumulative capacity would therefore grow by 32–35 percent and reach about 185 GW in 2014.

These estimates are in line with EPIA's earlier estimates of 35 to 52 GW.

Forecast for 2015[edit]

The 10 Predictions For Clean Energy In 2015 by Michael Liebreich from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, foresees that solar PV will add more than 55 GW of capacity in 2015. This would be a 10–20% increase compared to the (still estimated) installations of 45–50 GW in 2014.[14] In January 2015, Deutsche Bank anticipated 2015 solar deployment to reach about 54 GW. It expects an increase in investments and improvement of cost competitiveness, while weaker oil prices are not seen to play a significant role for the solar sector.[11][15] IHS Technology forecasts a growth of up to 25% for 2015. The company also predicts an accelerated growth for concentrated photovoltaics, an increase in market-share of monocrystalline silicon technology versus polycrystalline silicon, the leading semiconductor material used for solar cells, and that California will become global leader in solar power penetration.[16] The Chinese government set its own 2015 solar target to 15 GW, higher than its 2014 target it ultimately missed to achieve.[17]

Global short-term forecast[edit]

EPIA expects the fastest PV growth to continue in China, South-East Asia, Latin America, the Middle-East, North Africa, and India. By 2018, worldwide capacity is projected to reach between 321 GW (low scenario) and 430 GW (high scenario). This corresponds to a doubling or tripling of installed capacity compared to the year 2013.[1]:42

The International Energy Agency (IEA) sees global capacity to reach 400 GW in its conservative outlook for 2020. This mid-term outlook corresponds to EPIA's low scenario, based on an linear growth. In IEA's scenario, China accounts for over 110 GW, while Japan and Germany would each reach around 50 GW. The United States would rank fourth at over 40 GW, followed by Italy and India with 25 GW and 15 GW. The United Kingdom, France and Australia, would all be nearing 10 GW.[6]:17 IEA released this outlook in September 2014 (see section below for more detail on the report). As of 2015, this outlook seems now overly conservative, when estimates for 2014 and 2015 are taken into account, because a global capacity of 400 GW by 2020 actually means, that annual installations would have to decline to levels just above 30 GW after 2015. Such a significant negative growth has never been observed in the recorded history of solar PV deployment since the early 1990s.

Consulting firm Frost & Sullivan projects global PV capacity to increase to 446 GW by 2020, with China, India and North America being the fastest growing regions, while Europe is expected to double its solar capacity from current levels.[18]

Global long-term forecast[edit]

In September 2014, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its 2014 edition of the Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy report,[6] calling for clear, credible and consistent signals from policy makers.[19] The IEA also acknowledged, that it previously underestimated PV deployment and reassessed their short-term and long-term goals.

IEA report Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy (2014)[6]:1

Much has happened since our 2010 IEA technology roadmap for PV energy. PV has been deployed faster than anticipated and by 2020 will probably reach twice the level previously expected. Rapid deployment and falling costs have each been driving the other. This progress, together with other important changes in the energy landscape, notably concerning the status and progress of nuclear power and CCS, have led the IEA to reassess the role of solar PV in mitigating climate change. This updated roadmap envisions PV's share of global electricity rising up to 16% by 2050, compared with 11% in the 2010 roadmap.

For year 2050, IEA's long-term scenario describes worldwide capacity for solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal (CSP) to reach 4,600 GW and 1,000 GW, respectively. In order to achieve IEA's vision, PV deployment of 124 GW and investments of $225 billion are required annually (about three and two times of current levels). Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) generated by solar PV would cost between 4 to 16 US-cents per kilowatt-hour by 2050.[6]:5 The IEA also emphasizes that these new figures are not projections but rather scenarios they believe would occur if underlying economic, regulatory and political conditions played out.

Berlin based German renewable think tank Agora Energiewende concluded that most scenarios fundamentally underestimate the role of solar power in future energy systems. In its study released in 2015, Agora Energiewende produced several scenarios. By 2050, LCOE is predicted to decline to 2–4 euro-cents per kilowatt-hour (compared to IEA's 4–16 US-cents) and worldwide installed PV capacity to reach as much as 30,700 GW (compared to IEA's 4,600 GW). Agora Energiewende emphasized the importance of the financing aspects of solar projects (WACC), which strongly depend on regulatory regimes and may even outweigh local advantages of higer solar insolation.[20][21]

Regional forecasts[edit]

China

China was expected to continue to install 10 GW per year.[1]:37 In February 2014, China's National Development and Reform Commission upgraded its 2014 target from 10 GW to 14 GW[22] (later adjusted to 13 GW[9]) and ended up installing an estimated 10.6 GW due to shortcomings in the distributed PV sector.[12] In May 2014, that the country projects a more than tripling of PV capacity to 70 GW by 2017.[5] By then, China would have surpassed Germany's capacity and become the world's largest overall producer of photovoltaic power. By 2020, China plans to install 100 GW of solar power—along with 200 GW of wind, 350 GW of hydro and 58 GW of nuclear power.[23]

Japan

For 2014, installations in Japan are expected to peak at an all time record level of 9.1 GW, compared to 6.9 GW in 2013, before decreasing in 2015.[9]

United States

In September 2014, SEIA, the Solar Energy Industries Association, forecast that 6.5 gigawatts of solar PV was installed in the United States by the end of 2014, up 36 percent over 2013.[13]

Europe
Estimated European distribution of watts per capita in 2014
  <0.1, n/a
  0.1-1
  1-10
  10-50
  50-100
  100-150
  150-200
  200-300
  300-450
  >450

European markets continue to decline in 2014. While deployment underperforms in traditional key markets, the United Kingdom and some small and mid-sized countries such as Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland are expected to outperform. By 2020, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) expects PV capacity to pass 150 GW. It finds the EC-supervised national action plans for renewables (NREAP) turned out to be too conservative, as the goal of 84 GW of solar PV by 2020 has already been surpassed in 2014. For 2030, EPIA originally predicted solar PV to reach between 330 and 500 GW, supplying 10 to 15 percent of Europe's electricity demand. However, recent reassessments are more pessimistic and point to a 7 to 11 percent share, if no major policy changes are undertaken.[1]:35

The UK is predicted to have the strongest percentage growth by far in 2014. The country will install between 3.0 and 3.2 GW and become the fourth largest PV installer worldwide after China, Japan and the United States. The booming utility-scale installations were partially explained by the upcoming closure of the appealing renewable obligation certificates (ROC) scheme.[9]

For 2014, installations in both, Germany and Italy will continue to decline.[9]

  • Germany will install 2 GW, down 36 percent from 3.3 GW deployed in 2013. New cumulative capacity of 38.2 GW will correspond to 475 watts per inhabitant (per capita).
  • Italy will install 0.8 GW, down 0.7 GW from 1.5 GW deployed in 2013. Overall capacity of close to 19 GW will translate into approximately 310 watts per inhabitant.

Solar PV will cover about 7 and 8 percent of net electricity consumption in Germany and Italy, respectively.

Financial industry[edit]

Michael Liebreich, from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, anticipates a tipping point for solar energy. The costs of power from wind and solar are already below those of conventional electricity generation in some parts of the world, as they have fallen sharply and will continue to do so. He also asserts that the electrical grid has been greatly expanded worldwide, and is ready to receive and distribute electricity from renewable sources. In addition, worldwide electricity prices came under strong pressure from renewable energy sources, that are, in part, enthusiastically embraced by consumers.[24]

Deutsche Bank sees a "second gold rush" for the photovoltaic industry to come. Grid parity has already been reached in at least 19 markets by January 2014. Photovoltaics will prevail beyond feed-in tariffs, becoming more competitive as deployment increases and prices continue to fall.[25]

In June 2014 Barclays downgraded bonds of U.S. utility companies. Barclays expects more competition by a growing self-consumption due to a combination of decentralized PV-systems and residential electricity storage. This could fundamentally change the utility's business model and transform the system over the next ten years, as prices for these systems are predicted to fall.[26]

History of leading countries[edit]

Since the 1950s, when the first solar cells were commercially manufactured, there has been a succession of countries leading the world as the largest producer of electricity from solar photovoltaics. First it was the United States, then Japan, currently Germany, and soon it will be China.

United States (1954–1996)[edit]

The United States, inventor of modern solar PV, was the leader of installed capacity for many years. Based on preceding work by Swedish and German engineers, the American engineer Russell Ohl at Bell Labs patented the first modern solar cell in 1946.[27][28] It was also there at Bell Labs where the first practical c-silicon cell was developed in 1954.[29][30] Hoffman Electronics, the leading manufacturer of silicon solar cells in the 1950s and 1960s, improved on the cell's efficiency, produced solar radios, and equipped Vanguard I, the first solar powered satellite launched into orbit in 1958.

Capacity of Leading PV-Countries (MW)
10,000
20,000
30,000
40,000
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
Cumulative capacities with estimated figures for 2014
     UK        USA        Japan        China        Italy        Germany

In 1977 US-President Jimmy Carter installed solar hot water panels on the White House promoting solar energy[31] and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, originally named Solar Energy Research Institute was established at Golden, Colorado. In the 1980s and early 1990s, most photovoltaic modules were used in stand-alone power systems or powered consumer products such as watches, calculators and toys, but from around 1995, industry efforts have focused increasingly on developing grid-connected rooftop PV systems and power stations. By 1996, solar PV capacity in the US amounted to 77 megawatts–more than any other country in the world at the time. Then, Japan stayed ahead.

Japan (1997–2004)[edit]

Japan took the lead as the world's largest producer of PV electricity, after the city of Kobe was hit by the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. Kobe experienced severe power outages in the aftermath of the earthquake, and PV systems were then considered as a temporary supplier of power, as the disruption of the electric grid paralyzed the entire infrastructure, including gas stations that depended on electricity to pump gasoline. Moreover, in December of that same year, an accident occurred at the multi-billion dollar experimental Monju Nuclear Power Plant. A sodium leak caused a major fire and forced a shutdown (classified as INES 1). There was massive public outrage when it was revealed that the semigovernmental agency in charge of Monju had tried to cover up the extent of the accident and resulting damage.[32][33] Japan remained world leader in photovoltaics until 2004, when its capacity amounted to 1,132 megawatts. Then, focus on PV deployment shifted to Europe.

Germany (2005–present)[edit]

In 2005, Germany took the lead from Japan. With the introduction of the Renewable Energy Act in 2000, feed-in tariffs were adopted as a policy mechanism. This policy established that renewables have priority on the grid, and that a fixed price must be paid for the produced electricity over a 20-year period, providing a guaranteed return on investment irrespective of actual market prices. As a consequence, a high level of investment security lead to a soaring number of new photovoltaic installations that peaked in 2011, while investment costs in renewable technologies were brought down considerably. Germany's installed PV capacity is now approaching the 40,000 megawatt mark.

China (before 2020)[edit]

China's rapid PV growth is expected to continue and to surpass Germany's capacity in the next few years, becoming the world's largest producer of photovoltaic power.[5]

History of market development[edit]

Prices and costs[edit]

Price history for conventional (c-Si) solar cells since 1977
Swanson's law – the learning curve of photovoltaics

The average price per watt has dropped drastically for solar cells over the last few decades. While in 1977 prices for crystalline silicon cells were about $77 per watt, spot prices in 2014 are as low as $0.36 per watt or 200 times in less than almost forty years ago.

Prices for thin film solar cells and for c-Si solar panels are around $.60 per watt.[34] This price trend is seen as evidence supporting Swanson's law, an observation similar to the famous Moore's Law that states that prices for solar cells and panels fall by 20 percent for every doubling of industry capacity.[35]

Silicon shortage (2005–2008)[edit]

In the early 2000s, prices for polysilicon, the raw material for conventional solar cells, were as low as $30 per kilogram and silicon manufacturers had initially no incentive to expand production by additional investments.

However, a severe silicon shortage came along in 2005, when governmental programmes sparked the deployment of solar PV to rise by 75% in Europe. In addition, the demand for silicon from semiconductor manufacturers was growing as well. Since the amount of silicon needed for semiconductors makes up a much smaller portion of production costs, manufacturers were able to outbid solar companies for the available silicon in the market.[36]

Initially, the incumbent polysilicon producers were slow to respond to rising demand for solar applications, because to their painful experiences with over-investment in the past. Silicon prices sharply rose to about $80 per kilogram, and reached as much as $400/kg for long-term contracts and spot prices. In 2007, the constraints on silicon became so severe that the solar industry was forced to idle about a quarter of its cell and module manufacturing capacity—an estimated 777 MW of the then available production capacity. The shortage also provided silicon specialists with both the cash and an incentive to develop new technologies and several new producers entered the market. Early responses from the solar industry focused on improvements in the recycling of silicon. When this potential was exhausted, companies have been taking a harder look at alternatives to the conventional Siemens process.[37]

As it takes about three years to build a new polysilicon plant, the shortage prolonged until 2008. Prices for conventional solar cells remained constant or even rose slightly during the period of silicon shortage from 2005 to 2008. This is notably seen as a "shoulder" that sticks out in the Swanson's PV-learning curve and it was feared that a prolonged shortage could delay solar power to become competitive with conventional energy prices without subsidies.

In the meantime the solar industry lowered the number of grams-per-watt by reducing wafer thickness and kerf loss, increased yields in all manufacturing steps, reducing module loss, and continuously raised panel efficiency. Finally, the ramp up of polysilicon production alleviated worldwide markets from the scarcity of silicon in 2009 and subsequently lead to an overcapacity with sharply declining prices in the photovoltaic industry for the following years.

Solar overcapacity (2009–2013)[edit]

Solar Module Production
utilization of production capacity in %

Utilization rate of solar PV module production capacity in % since 1993[38]

As the polysilicon industry had started to build additional large production capacities during the shortage period, prices dropped as low as $15 per kilogram forcing some producers to suspended production or exit the sector. Since then, prices for silicon have stabilized around $20 per kilogram and the booming solar PV market has also helped to reduced the enormous global overcapacity since 2009. However, overcapacity in the PV industry continues to persist. In 2013, global record deployment of 38 GW (updated EPIA figure[1]) was still much lower than China's annual production capacity of approximately 60 GW. Continued overcapacity was further reduced by significantly lowering solar module prices and, as a consequence, many manufacturers could no longer cover costs or remain competitive. As worldwide growth of PV deployment continues and will likely break another record in 2014, the gap between overcapacity and global demand is expected to close in the next few years.[39]

IEA-PVPS published historical data for the worldwide utilization of solar PV module production capacity that displays a slow return to normalization in manufacture in recent years. The utilization rate is the ratio of production capacities versus actual production output for a given year. A low of 49% was reached in 2007 and reflects the peak of the silicon shortage that forced to idle a significant share of the module production capacity. As of 2013, the utilization rate recovered somewhat and increased to 63%.[38]

Anti-dumping duties (2012–present)[edit]

After anti-dumping petition were filed and investigations carried out,[40] the United States imposed tariffs of 31 percent to 250 percent on solar products imported from China in 2012.[41] A year later, the EU also imposed definitive anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on imports of solar panels from China at an average of 47.7 percent for a two-year time span.[42] This has caused much controversy between proponents and opponents and is subject of current debate.

History of deployment[edit]

2014: 45,000 MW (24.5%) 2013: 38,352 MW (20.9%) 2012: 30,011 MW (16.3%) 2011: 30,133 MW (16.4%) 2010: 17,151 MW (9.3%) 2009: 7,340 MW (4.0%) 2008: 6,661 MW (3.6%) before: 9,183 MW (5.0%)Circle frame.svg
  •   2014: 45,000 MW (24.5%)
  •   2013: 38,352 MW (20.9%)
  •   2012: 30,011 MW (16.3%)
  •   2011: 30,133 MW (16.4%)
  •   2010: 17,151 MW (9.3%)
  •   2009: 7,340 MW (4.0%)
  •   2008: 6,661 MW (3.6%)
  •   before: 9,183 MW (5.0%)
Worldwide annual PV deployment as a %-share of current total capacity (estimated 2014-figures).[1][9]

Deployment figures on a global, regional and nationwide scale are well documented since the early 1990s. While worldwide photovoltaic capacity has been growing continuously, deployment figures by country are much more dynamic, as they depend strongly on national policies. A number of organizations release comprehensive reports on PV deployment on a yearly basis. They include annual and cumulative deployed PV capacity, typically given in watt-peak, a break-down by markets, as well as in-depth analysis and forecasts about future trends.

Worldwide annual deployment[edit]

Due to the exponential nature of PV deployment, about 75 percent of the overall capacity has been installed during the last four years from 2011 to 2014. Since the 1990s, and except for 2012, each year has been a record-breaking year of new installed PV capacity.

10,000
20,000
30,000
40,000
50,000
1998
2002
2006
2010
2014
Global annual installed PV capacity 1998–2014, in megawatts (hover with mouse over bar).
Legend:        annual deployment        estimate for 2014.  Sources: BP World Energy[43] · EPIA[1]:18 · IHS[9]
Worldwide cumulative PV capacity on a semi log chart since 1992. Figures for 2014 are estimates.

Worldwide cumulative[edit]

Worldwide growth of solar PV capacity has been fitting an exponential curve since 1992. Tables below show global cumulative nominal capacity by the end of each year in megawatts, and the year-to-year increase in percent. In 2014, global capacity is expected to grow by 33 percent from 138,856 to 185,000 MW. This corresponds to an exponential growth rate of 29 percent or about 2.4 years for current worldwide PV capacity to double. Exponential growth rate: P(t) = P0ert, where P0 is 139 GW, growth-rate r 0.29 (results in doubling time t of 2.4 years).

The following table contains data from four different sources. For 1992–1995: compiled figures of 16 main markets (see section All time PV installations by country). For 1996–1999: BP-Statistical Review of world energy (Historical Data Workbook)[43] for 2000–2013: EPIA Global Outlook on Photovoltaics Report[1]:17 and for 2014: estimated figures based on IHS projection, October 2014[9]

1990s
 Year  CapacityA
MWp
Δ%B Refs
1991 n.a.   C
1992 105 n.a. C
1993 130 24% C
1994 158 22% C
1995 192 22% C
1996 309 61% [43]
1997 422 37% [43]
1998 566 34% [43]
1999 807 43% [43]
2000 1,288 60% [1]
2000s
 Year  CapacityA
MWp
Δ%B Refs
2001 1,615 27% [1]
2002 2,069 28% [1]
2003 2,635 27% [1]
2004 3,723 41% [1]
2005 5,112 37% [1]
2006 6,660 30% [1]
2007 9,183 38% [1]
2008 15,844 73% [1]
2009 23,185 46% [1]
2010 40,336 74% [1]
2010s
 Year  CapacityA
MWp
Δ%B Refs
2011 70,469 75% [1]
2012 100,504 43% [1]
2013 138,856 38% [1]
2014 185,000 33% est.[9]
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Legend:
^A Worldwide, cumulative nameplate capacity in megawatt-peak MWp, (re-)caculated in DC power output.
^B year-to-year increase of cumulated worldwide PV nameplate capacity in percent.
^C figures of 16 main markets, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, European countries, and the United States.


Deployment reports[edit]

European PV growth in 'watts per capita' from 1992 to 2013.
  <0.1, n/a
  0.1-1
  1-10
  10-50
  50-100
  100-150
  150-200
  200-300
  300-450

Most PV deployment figures in this article are provided by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association ("Global Outlook for Photovoltaics" report), the Observatoire des énergies renouvelables or EurObserv'ER ("Photovoltaic Barometer" report), and the IEA-PVPS (photovoltaic power systems) ("Snapshot report"). The list below contains those reports that are used as citations in this article.

EPIA reports

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) represents members of the entire PV industry from silicon producers to cells and module manufactures and PV systems installers to PV electricity generation as well as marketing and sales. EPIA releases its annual Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics report in May/June.

PV-Barometer reports

EUROBSER'VER (Observatoire des énergies renouvelables) was set up in 1980, and is composed of engineers and experts releasing the Photovoltaic Barometer Report containing early, year-end PV deployment figure for the 28 member states of the European Union.[49] Eurobserver works closely together with several French ministries and is co-founded by the European Commission's IEE programm.[50]

IEA-PVPS reports

The IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (PVPS) is one of the collaborative R&D agreements established within the IEA and, since its establishment in 1993, the PVPS participants have been conducting a variety of joint projects in the application of photovoltaic conversion of solar energy into electricity. Its annual "Snapshot" report is released in early April and provides the first and detailed figures of worldwide PV-deployment of the previous year.

For an overview of IEA-PVPS' international statistics, this external link [1] lists all available PDF reports since 1995.

Deployment by country[edit]

Further information: Solar power by country
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007

Off grid refers to photovoltaics which are not grid connected. On grid means connected to the local electricity grid. Δ means the amount installed during the previous year. Σ means the total amount installed. Wp/capita refers to the ratio of total installed capacity divided by total population, or total installed Wp per person. Module price is average installed price, in Euros. kW·h/kWp·yr indicates the range of insolation to be expected. While National Report(s) may be cited as source(s) within an International Report, any contradictions in data are resolved by using only the most recent report's data. Exchange rates represent the 2006 annual average of daily rates (OECD Main Economic Indicators June 2007).
Module Price: Lowest:2.5 EUR/Wp[70] (2.83 USD/Wp[71]) in Germany 2003. Uncited insolation data is from maps dating 1991–1995.[72][73][74]

2006

Notes: While National Report(s) may be cited as source(s) within an International Report, any contradictions in data are resolved by using only the most recent report's data. Exchange rates represent the 2006 annual average of daily rates (OECD Main Economic Indicators June 2007)
Module Price: Lowest:2.5 EUR/Wp[70] (2.83 USD/Wp[71]) in Germany 2003. Uncited insolation data is lifted from maps dating 1991–1995.[72][73][74]

2005

Original source gives these individual numbers and totals them to 37,500 kW. The 2004 reported total was 30,700 kW.[94] With new installations of 6,800 kW, this would give the reported 37,500 kW.

2004


All time PV installations by country[edit]

Cumulative Photovoltaic Installations (MWp)
Country 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Australia 7.3 8.9 10.7 12.7 15.7 18.7 22.5 25.3 29.2 33.6 39.1 45.6 52.3 60.6 70.3 82.5 105 184 571 1408 2400 3255
Austria 0.6 0.8 1.1 1.4 1.7 2.2 2.9 3.7 4.9 6.1 10.3 16.8 21.1 24.0 25.6 27.7 32.4 52.6 96 188 363 613
Belgium   70.9 574 1037 2051 2768 2983
Brazil   5 17 D 32 D
Bulgaria   5.7 35 141 1010 1020
Canada 1.0 1.2 1.5 1.9 2.6 3.4 4.5 5.8 7.2 8.8 10.0 11.8 13.9 16.7 20.5 25.8 32.7 94.6 281 559 765 1210
Chile   <1 C 2 C 6.7 C
China   19 23.5 42 52 62 70 80 100 140 300 800 3300 7000 18800
Croatia   0.2 20
Cyprus   3.3 6.2 9 17 32
Czech   463.3 1952 1959 2087 2175
Denmark   0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.4 0.5 1.1 1.5 1.5 1.6 1.9 2.3 2.7 2.9 3.1 3.3 4.6 7 16 332 548
Estonia   0.05 0.08 0.2 0.2 0.2
Finland   0.1 1 11 11
France 1.8 2.1 2.4 2.9 4.4 6.1 7.6 9.1 11.3 13.9 17.2 21.1 26.0 33.0 43.9 75.2 180 335 1197 2924 4060 4673
Germany 5.6 8.9 12.4 17.7 27.8 41.8 53.8 69.4 114 195 278 431 1034 1926 2759 3836 5340 9959 17193 24807 32411 35715
Greece   55 205 624 1536 2579
Hungary   0.65 1.75 4 12 22
India   161 461 1205 2319
Ireland   0.1 3 3 3
Israel   0.9 1.0 1.3 1.8 3.0 24.5 69.9 190 250 420
Italy 8.5 12.1 14.1 15.8 16.0 16.7 17.7 18.5 19.0 20.0 22.0 26.0 30.7 37.5 50.0 120 458 1181 3502 12923 16479 17928
Japan 19.0 24.3 31.2 43.4 59.6 91.3 133 209 330 453 637 860 1132 1422 1709 1919 2144 2627 3618 4914 7000 13643
Latvia   0 0.2 1 1
Lithuania   0.07 0.2 0.3 6 6
Luxembourg   26.4 27.3 30 30 A 30 A
Malaysia   5.5 7.0 8.8 11.1 12.6 13.5 36 73
Malta   1.53 1.67 12 16 23
Mexico 5.4 7.1 8.8 9.2 10.0 11.0 12.0 12.9 13.9 15.0 16.2 17.1 18.2 18.7 19.7 20.8 21.8 25.0 30 37 52 100
Netherlands 1.3 1.6 2.0 2.4 3.3 4.0 6.5 9.2 12.8 20.5 26.3 45.7 49.2 50.7 52.2 52.8 57.2 67.5 88 141 360 665
Norway   6.4 B 6.6 B 6.9 B 7.3 B 7.7 B 8.0 B 8.3 B 8.7 B 9.1 B 9.5 B 10.4 B 11 B
Peru   0 15 D ? D
Poland   1.38 1.75 3 7 7
Portugal 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.9 1.1 1.3 1.7 2.1 2.7 3.0 3.4 17.9 68.0 102 150 195 242 278
Romania   0.64 1.94 4 51 1151
Slovakia   0.19 148 508 523 524
Slovenia   9.0 35 81 201 212
South Africa   1 41 D ? D
South Korea 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 2.1 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.8 5.4 6.0 8.5 13.5 35.9 81.2 358 524 656 812 981 1467
Spain   1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 2.0 2.0 4.0 7.0 12.0 23.0 48 145 693 3354 3438 3915 4889 5221 5340
Sweden 0.8 1.0 1.3 1.6 1.8 2.1 2.4 2.6 2.8 3.0 3.3 3.6 3.9 4.2 4.8 6.2 7.9 8.8 11 11 22 40
Switzerland 4.7 5.8 6.7 7.5 8.4 9.7 11.5 13.4 15.3 17.6 19.5 21.0 23.1 27.1 29.7 36.2 47.9 73.6 111 216 437 737
Taiwan   32 102 206 376
Thailand   50 100 360 704
Turkey   0.2 0.3 0.4 0.6 0.9 1.3 1.8 2.3 2.8 3.3 4.0 5.0 6 7 12 18
Ukraine   3 191 326 616
UK 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.6 0.7 1.1 1.9 2.7 4.1 5.9 8.2 10.9 14.3 18.1 22.5 29.6 77 904 1829 3375
USA 43.5 50.3 57.8 66.8 76.5 88.2 100 117 139 168 212 275 376 479 624 831 1169 1256 2528 4383 7221 12022
References [59] [58] [57] [45][53] [44][56] [1][8]
Notes:
^A Strong discrepancy for Luxembourg: EPIA-figures report unchanged capacity of 30 MW for Y2011-2013 (source listed in row "References"), while Photovoltaic Barometer[97] reports a capacity of 76.7 MW for Y2012 and 100 MW for Y2013. Table displays EPIA figures.
^B Strong discrepancy for Norway: Figures based on BP-Statistical Review of world energy[43] as EIPA reports[1]:24 virtually zero deployment (when 0.02 watt per inhabitant is multiplied by current population, the installed capacity amounts to only 0.07 MW).
^C Different data source for Chile, figures based on reports[62] published by the Chilean Ministry of Energy—Centro de Energías Renovables (CER) and CORFO. Montly reports revise figures retroactively. Distinction between solar PV and CSP is missing, however.
^D Figures for Brazil, Peru and South Africa need to be checked, as sources are unclear. Historical data for these countries may be verifiable when new reports are released.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

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