Growth of photovoltaics

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Worldwide growth of photovoltaics
Cumulative capacity in megawatts [MWp] grouped by region[1][2]:17[3]:15
Recent and projected capacity (MWp)
Year-end 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014e 2015p
Cumulative 40,336 70,469 100,504 138,856 178,391 233,000
Annual new 17,151 30,133 30,011 38,352 40,134 55,000
Growth new p.a. 134% 76% 0% 28% 5% 37%
Installed PV in watts per capita

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 on semi-log chart

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

Grid parity for solar PV around the world

Grid parity for solar PV systems around the world

  reached before 2014
  reached after 2014
  only for peak prices
  predicted U.S. states

Worldwide growth of photovoltaics has been fitting an exponential curve for more than two decades. During this period of time, photovoltaics (PV), also known as solar PV, has evolved from a pure niche market of small scale applications towards becoming a mainstream electricity source. When solar PV systems were first recognized as a promising renewable energy technology, programs, such as feed-in tariffs, were implemented by a number of governments in order to provide economic incentives for investments. For several years, growth was mainly driven by Japan and pioneering European countries. As a consequence, cost of solar declined significantly due to improvements in technology and economies of scale, even more so when production of solar cells and modules started to ramp up in China.[4] Since then, deployment of photovoltaics is gaining momentum on a worldwide scale, particularly in Asia but also in North America and other regions, where solar PV is now increasingly competing with conventional energy sources as grid parity has already been reached in about 30 countries.[5]:9

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.[6][7][8]

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.[9][10] In 2016, China became world's largest producer of photovoltaic power.[11][12][13] By the end of 2014, cumulative photovoltaic capacity reached at least 178 gigawatts (GW), sufficient to supply 1 percent of global electricity demands. Solar now contributes 7.9 percent and 7.0 percent to the respective annual domestic consumption in Italy and Germany.[3] For 2015, worldwide deployment of about 55 GW is being forecasted, and installed capacity is projected to more than double or even triple beyond 500 GW between now and 2020.[1] By 2050, solar power is anticipated to become the world's largest source of electricity, with solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar power contributing 16 and 11 percent, respectively. This will require PV capacity to grow to 4,600 GW, of which more than half is forecasted to be deployed in China and India.[14]

Current status[edit]

Current status describes worldwide, regional and domestic solar PV deployment as of the end of 2014 (see section Forecast for 2015). The unit of power, watt, is frequently used as multiples, such as kilowatt (kW), megawatt (MW), gigawatt (GW) and terawatt (TW). Nameplate capacity in the article is displayed as MW and has to be understood as direct current megawatt-peak (MWp), if not otherwise explicitly denoted as, for example, MWAC[2]:15[15]:10

For a complete history of deployment over the last two decades, also see section History of deployment.


In 2014, cumulative photovoltaic capacity increased by 40.1 GW or 28% and reached at least 178 GW by the end of the year, sufficient to supply 1 percent of the world's total electricity consumption of currently 18,400 TWh.[1][3]:5–6 Although this represents a new all-time record in the history of global PV deployment, overall expectations had been higher as module shipments amounted to 44–46 GW and suggested higher overall installations.[1] Annual installation for 2014 expanded slightly by 5% when compared to worldwide installation of 38.3 GW in 2013.[2]:9

Circle frame.svg

Cumulative PV capacity by region as of the end of 2014.[3]

  Europe (49.4%)
  APAC (19.8%)
  China (15.9%)
  Americas (11.6%)
  MEA (1.0%)
  Rest of the World (2.3%)
Global installed PV capacity
Report Cumulative (MWp) Installed (MWp) Year-End
Release date Type Ref
IEA-PVPS snapshot >177,000 >38,700 2014 March 2015 preliminary [3]
SPE outlook(a) 178,391 40,134 2014 June 2015 detailed [1]
IEA-PVPS trends >177,000 ~40,000 2014 October 2015 final [16]
Overview of reported annual installations and global cumulative figures in chronological order
(a) SPE also noted that global PV-shipment was much higher, about 44–46 GW in 2014.[1]:5


In 2014, Asia was the fastest growing region, with more than 60% of global installations. China and Japan alone accounted for 20 GW or half of worldwide deployment. Europe continued to decline and installed 7 GW or 18% of the global PV market, three times less than in the record-year of 2011, when 22 GW had been installed. For the first time, North and South America combined accounted for at least as much as Europe, about 7.1 GW or about 18% of global total. This is due to the strong growth in the United States, supported by Canada, Chile and Mexico.[3]

In terms of cumulative capacity, Europe is still the most developed region with 88 GW or half of the global total of 178 GW. Solar PV now covers 3.5% and 7% of European electricity demand and peak electricity demand, respectively.[3]:6 The Asia-Pacific region (APAC) which includes countries such as Japan, India and Australia, follows second and accounts for about 20% percent of worldwide capacity. In third position ranks China with 16%, followed by the Americas with about 12%. Cumulative capacity in the MEA (Middle East and Africa) region and ROW (rest of the world) accounted for only about 3.3% of the global total. A great untapped potential remains for many of these countries, especially in the Sunbelt.


Circle frame.svg

Added PV capacity by country in 2014 (clustered by region)[3]

  China & Taiwan (28.3%)
  Japan (25.1%)
  South Korea (2.3%)
  Thailand (1.2%)
  India (1.6%)
  Australia (2.4%)
  United States (16.0%)
  Canada (1.3%)
  Chile (0.9%)
  Germany (4.9%)
  Italy (1.0%)
  United Kingdom (5.9%)
  Rest of Europe (5.6%)
  South Africa (2.1%)
  Rest of the World (1.4%)

As in the year before, the world's top installer of 2014 were China (+10.6 GW), followed by Japan (+9.6 GW) and the United States (+6.2 GW), while the United Kingdom (+2.3 GW) emerged as new European leader ahead of Germany (+1.9 GW) and France (+0.9 GW). Germany remains for one more year the world's largest producer of solar power with an overall installed capacity of 38.2 GW.[3]

Chile (+0.4 GW) and South Africa (+0.8 GW) were the newcomers of 2014. South Africa entered the top 10 in added capacity rankings for the first time. There are now twenty countries around the world with a cumulative PV capacity of more than one gigawatt (see bar-chart below). Thailand (1,299 MW), The Netherlands (1,123 MW), and Switzerland (1,076 MW), all crossed the gigawatt threshold in 2014. Based on IEA's data, the available solar PV capacity in Italy, Germany and Greece is now sufficient to supply between 7% and 8% of their respective domestic electricity consumption.[3]

Top 10 PV countries in 2014 (MW)
Total capacity
1. Germany Germany 38,200
2. China China 28,199
3. Japan Japan 23,300
4. Italy Italy 18,460
5. United States United States 18,280
6. France France 5,660
7. Spain Spain 5,358
8. United Kingdom UK 5,104
9. Australia Australia 4,136
10. Belgium Belgium 3,074
Added capacity
1. China China 10,560
2. Japan Japan 9,700
3. United States United States 6,201
4. United Kingdom UK 2,273
5. Germany Germany 1,900
6. France France 927
7. Australia Australia 910
8. South Korea South Korea 909
9. South Africa South Africa 800
10. India India 616

Data: IEA-PVPS Snapshot of Global PV 1992–2014 report, March 2015[3]:15
Also see section Deployment by country for a complete and continuously updated list

The leading countries in terms of deployed and overall PV-capacity are shown above. These top 10 countries account for 85% and 90% of the global cumulative and global added capacity, respectively.

Other mentionable PV deployments above the 100-megawatt mark included Canada (500 MW), Thailand (475 MW), The Netherlands (400 MW), Taiwan (400 MW), Italy (385 MW), Chile (365 MW), Switzerland (320 MW), Israel (250 MW), Austria (140 MW) and Portugal (110 MW).[3] Underperforming countries were Belgium (65 MW), Bulgaria (2 MW), the Czech Republic (2 MW), Greece (16 MW), Romania (69 MW), Slovakia (0.4 MW) and Spain (22 MW), with very low to almost non-existent additions compared to previous years.


Forecast for 2015[edit]

Projected global growth (MW)
Projected global cumulative capacity in MW

      historical cumulative capacity
      average projection for 2015 (+55 GW, 233 GW)
      low scenario reaches 396 GW by 2019
      high scenario reaches 540 GW by 2019

Source: SPE, Global Market Outlook 2015,[1]:14 amended with industry average for 2015[a]

In June 2015, SolarPower Europe (SPE) – the former European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) – released its new report, Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2015–2019. The European PV organization expects global installations to grow between 41 GW and 60 GW, marked by their low and high scenario, respectively.[b][1]:14 A year before, the European lobby association estimated 2015 to grow by 35–53 GW.[2]:39

The International Energy Agency (IEA) will still have to update its forecast in the course of 2015. This is expected to happen on 1 October 2015, when the Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015 will be launched on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Istanbul, Turkey.[17] In August 2014, IEA forecasted 38 GW in its baseline scenario for 2015.[18] The IEA has been criticized for systematically underestimating the growth of photovoltaics in the past.[6]

IHS Technology forecasts global solar PV installations to grow by 59 GW or 33% in 2015.[19][20] The company also predicts an accelerated growth for concentrator photovoltaics, an increase in market-share of monocrystalline silicon technology over polycrystalline silicon, currently the leading semiconductor material used for solar cells (also see section Technologies), and that solar power in California will provide more than 10 percent of the state's annual power generation, higher than in Italy and Germany.[21]

Summary forecasts
Projections for 2015
IEA(a) 38 GW
DB 54 GW
MC 58 GW
Ø for 2015 55 GW
(a) excluded from average

Deutsche Bank (DB) anticipates deployment to reach about 54 GW in 2015. An increase in investments and improvement of cost competitiveness is expected, while weaker oil prices are not seen to play a significant role for the solar sector.[22] They find that grid parity has arrived in 30 countries around the world (compared to 19 markets the year before[23]), as unsubsidized rooftop solar costs $0.08–$0.13 per kilowatt-hour, and is now below the retail prices of electricity in these markets. DB also estimates current installation cost to range from $1.00/W for utility-scale systems in China to $2.90/W for U.S. residential rooftop systems.[5]

For 2015, Mercom Capital (MC) predicts global installation to amount to 57.8 GW[24] (up from 54.5 GW predicted a few months earlier[25]), while Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) foresees solar PV to add more than 55 GW. The 10 Predictions For Clean Energy In 2015 by Michael Liebreich mentions the spread of PV to more and more localities in Africa, the trend of imposing taxes on rooftop systems, and the growing confidence among investors that solar is indeed a cheap source of power.[26][27] In June 2015, Greentech Media (GTM) Research estimated global PV installations at 55 GW for 2015 and notes that this corresponds to about half of the world's newly installed electricity generating capacity.[28]

About 40 countries are expected to install more than 100 megawatts in 2015 (compared to 25 countries in 2014).[21] In the United States, installations are predicted to grow by 7.9 GW (SEIA[29]) to 9.4 GW, up by about 30–45% over the record-year of 2014.[24][30][31] Both, the United Kingdom (2.9–3.5 GW) and Japan (9–10.4 GW) are being forecasted to set new records in 2015.[24][30] After three years of decline, installations in Europe are expected to grow again to 9.4 GW, up 19% over 2014.[20][32] The Chinese government set its own 2015 solar target to 17.8 GW, much higher than its original 2014 target it ultimately missed to achieve.[10] India is expected to install more than 2 GW, a tripling over the previous year.[33] A return of deployment in the gigawatt-scale is predicted for France, and record installations of 1.1 GW are expected for Thailand, while deployment in Australia and Germany would remain unchanged.[32] Latin America is forecasted to install 2.2 GW in 2015, with a significant contribution from the Central American region for the first time, while Chile and Mexico are expected to double and triple their installations, respectively. The projected top five Latin American installers of 2015 are Chile (1 GW), Honduras (460 MW), Mexico (195 MW), Guatemala (98 MW) and Panama (62 MW).[34] Rapid growth of solar PV is also expected to occur in Jordan, Pakistan and the Philippines.[21]:11[35]

Global short-term forecast (2020)[edit]

Summary of forecasts
Forecasting company
or organization
by 2020
To be added
Ø Annual
IEA (baseline, 2014) 403 GW 225 GW 38 GW
GlobalData (2014) 414 GW 236 GW 39 GW
SPE/EPIA (low scenario, 2015)1 444 GW 266 GW 44 GW
Frost & Sullivan (2015) 446 GW 268 GW 45 GW
IEA (enhanced case, 2014)2 490 GW 312 GW 52 GW
Grand View Research (2015) 490 GW 312 GW 52 GW
Citigroup (CitiResearch, 2013) 500 GW 322 GW 54 GW
PVMA (medium scenario, 2015)3 536 GW 358 GW 60 GW
IHS (10.5% CAGR, 2015)4 566 GW 388 GW 65 GW
BNEF (New Energy Outlook 2015)5 589 GW 411 GW 69 GW
SPE/EPIA (high scenario, 2015)1 630 GW 452 GW 75 GW
Fraunhofer (17% CAGR, 2015)6 668 GW 490 GW 82 GW
GTM Research (June, 2015) 696 GW 518 GW 86 GW
List ordered by ascending estimated capacities and publication date
 1 SPE – extrapolated 2019-projection (396 GW and 540 GW, resp.) [1]:15
 2 IEA – arithmetic mean of 465–515 GW [18]
 3 PVMA – average of scenarios (444–630 GW), read from diagram [36]
 4 IHS – extrapolated 2019-estimate, based on a CAGR of 10.5% [30][37]
 5 BNEF – figures may include contribution from CSP[27]
 6 FSH – external expert scenario based on a CAGR of 17% [38]:19,25
 7 Difference to global cumulative as of the end of 2014 (178 GW) [1]:5

There are a number of short and medium term forecasts published by several organizations and market research companies. In addition, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Solar Power Europe (SPE, the former EPIA) produce more than one scenario each. The summary table shows the different forecasts for global PV capacity by 2020. Projections are listed by ascending cumulative capacity. The table also shows the capacity that has to be installed from 2015–2020 and the average annual installation required to meet the projection. Conservative scenarios forecast capacity to reach 400 or more gigawatts, assuming declining annual installations from current levels, while more optimistic scenarios project cumulative capacity to grow beyond 500 GW. Only the most optimistic projections around 600 GW foresee annual installations to grow above 10 percent (p.a) in the near future.

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association expects the fastest PV growth to continue in China, South-East Asia, Latin America, the Middle-East, North Africa, and India. By 2019, worldwide capacity is projected to reach between 396 GW (low scenario) and 540 GW (high scenario). This corresponds to a more than doubling and tripling of installed capacity within five years, respectively.[1]:15

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.[39] Grand View Research, a market research and consulting firm, headquartered in San Francisco, published its solar PV forecast report in March 2015. The large PV potential in countries such as Brazil, Chile and Saudi Arabia has not expanded as expected and is supposed to be explored over the next six years. In addition, China's increase of manufacturing capacity is expected to further lowering global market prices. The consulting firm projects worldwide cumulative deployment to reach about 490 GW by 2020.[40]

The PV Market Alliance (PVMA), a recently founded consortium of several research bodies, sees global PV capacity to reach 444–630 GW by 2020. In its low scenario, annual installations are projected to grow from 40 to 50 gigawatts by the end of the decade, while its high scenario forecasts deployment to increase from 60 to 90 GW during the next five years. The medium scenario therefore expects annual PV installations to grow from 50 GW to 70 GW and to reach 536 GW by 2020.[36][41] PVMA's figures are in line with those published earlier by Solar Power Europe. In June 2015, Greentech Media (GTM) Research released its Global PV Demand Outlook for 2020. The company projects annual installations to increase from 40 GW to 135 GW and global cumulative capacity to reach almost 700 GW by 2020. GTM's outlook is the most aggressive of all forecasts to date, with projected deployment of 518 GW between 2015 and 2020, or more than twice as much as IEA's 225 GW baseline case scenario, published ten months earlier.[42]

IEA – projected annual PV installations
Year 2013-edition Diff 2014-edition
2013 30 GW +9 39 GW
2014 30 GW +9 39 GW
2015 33 GW +5 38 GW
2016 36 GW +3 39 GW
2017 38 GW -2 36 GW
2018 40 GW -3 37 GW
2019 n.a. n.a. 38 GW
2020 n.a. n.a. 39 GW
Source: IEA Medium Term Renewable Energy Market
data from 2013-edition[43] and 2014-edition[18]

The International Energy Agency (IEA) sees overall stagnating annual installations in the range of 36–39 GW until 2020, when global capacity will reach 403 GW, according to the highlighted baseline case scenario of the Medium Term Renewable Energy Market 2014 report.[18][44] Paradoxically, since the report's 2013-edition, projected cumulative for 2018 has increased by 6% from 308 GW to 326 GW, while the corresponding annual deployment decreased.[43] This is due to the fact that the International Energy Agency adjusted annual installations upward on the near-end – in order to meet actual deployment, while reducing estimates on the far-end. The result is a flat curve that stays below 40 GW until 2020 (see table). For 2017, the projected low of 36 GW concurs with the scheduled expiration of the solar investment tax credit (ITC) in the U.S. and the expected end of the solar boom in Japan. IEA's projected annual installation of less than 40 GW also leads to a negative growth rate, since expectations for 2015 are much higher (see Forecast for 2015). Such a decline, however, is unprecedented and has never been observed in the recorded history of solar PV deployment. This scenario makes IEA's baseline case the most conservative of all projections. In the less featured enhanced high case scenario, IEA estimates that "solar PV could reach a cumulative 465 GW to 515 GW in 2020"[18]:8 and that "solar PV capacity could top 500 GW globally in 2020".[44]

By 2020, IEA's Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy report expects China to account for over 110 GW of solar PV, 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 have installed capacities of close to 10 GW each.[14]:17 IEA released this outlook in September 2014 (see section below for more detail on the report). Two months later, however, India announced its intention to install 100 GW of solar PV by 2022, and another six months later, SEIA forecasted that the United States would reach 40 GW of cumulative PV capacity already by the end of 2016.[45][46] Furthermore, in July 2015, the UK was forecast to reach 10 GW by early 2016.[47] IEA will release its next roadmap report on solar PV in 2018.

Global long-term forecast (2050)[edit]

In 2014, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its latest edition of the Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy report,[14] calling for clear, credible and consistent signals from policy makers.[48] The IEA also acknowledged to have previously underestimated PV deployment and reassessed its short-term and long-term goals.

IEA report Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy (September 2014)[14]: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.

IEA's long-term scenario for 2050 describes worldwide solar photovoltaics (PV) and concentrated solar thermal (CSP) capacity to reach 4,600 GW and 1,000 GW, respectively. In order to achieve IEA's projection, PV deployment of 124 GW and investments of $225 billion are required annually. This is about three and two times of current levels, respectively. By 2050, levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) generated by solar PV would cost between US 4¢ and 16¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh), or by segment and on average, 5.6¢ per kWh for utility-scale power plants (range of 4¢ to 9.7¢), and 7.8¢ per kWh for solar rooftop systems (range of 4.9¢ to 15.9¢)[14]:5,24 These estimates are based on a weighted average cost of capital (WACC) of 8%. The report notes that when the WACC exceeds 9%, over half the LCOE of PV is made of financial expenditures, and that more optimistic assumptions of a lower WACC would therefore significantly reduce the LCOE of solar PV in the future.[14]:24–25 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.

In 2015, Fraunhofer ISE did a study commissioned by German renewable think tank Agora Energiewende and concluded that most scenarios fundamentally underestimate the role of solar power in future energy systems.[49] Fraunhofer's study (see summary of its conclusions below) differs significantly form IEA's roadmap report on solar PV technology despite being published only a few months apart. The report foresees worldwide installed PV capacity to reach as much as 30,700 GW by 2050. By then, Fraunhofer expects LCOE for utility-scale solar farms to reach €0.02 to €0.04 per kilowatt-hour, or about half of what the International Energy Agency has been projecting (4¢ to 9.7¢). Turnkey system costs would decrease by more than 50% to €436/kWp from currently €995/kWp.[38]:67 This is also noteworthy, as IEA's roadmap published significantly higher estimates of $1,400 to $3,300 per kWp for eight major markets around the world (see table Typical PV system prices in 2013 below).[14]:15 However, the study agrees with IEA's roadmap report by emphasizing the importance of the cost of capital (WACC), which strongly depends on regulatory regimes and may even outweigh local advantages of higher solar insolation.[38]:1, 53 In the study, a WACC of 5%, 7.5% and 10% is used to calculate the projected levelized cost of electricity for utility-scale solar PV in 18 different markets worldwide.[38]:65

Fraunhofer ISE: Current and Future Cost of Photovoltaics. Long-term Scenarios for Market Development, System Prices and LCOE of Utility-Scale PV Systems. Study on behalf of Agora Energiewende (February 2015)[38]:1

  1. Solar photovoltaics is already today a low-cost renewable energy technology. Cost of power from large scale photovoltaic installations in Germany fell from over 40 ct/kWh in 2005 to 9 cts/kWh in 2014. Even lower prices have been reported in sunnier regions of the world, since a major share of cost components is traded on global markets.
  2. Solar power will soon be the cheapest form of electricity in many regions of the world. Even in conservative scenarios and assuming no major technological breakthroughs, an end to cost reduction is not in sight. Depending on annual sunshine, power cost of 4–6 cts/kWh are expected by 2025, reaching 2–4 ct/kWh by 2050 (conservative estimate).
  3. Financial and regulatory environments will be key to reducing cost in the future. Cost of hardware sourced from global markets will decrease irrespective of local conditions. However, inadequate regulatory regimes may increase cost of power by up to 50 percent through higher cost of finance. This may even overcompensate the effect of better local solar resources.
  4. Most scenarios fundamentally underestimate the role of solar power in future energy systems. Based on outdated cost estimates, most scenarios modeling future domestic, regional or global power systems foresee only a small contribution of solar power. The results of our analysis indicate that a fundamental review of cost-optimal power system pathways is necessary.

Regional forecasts[edit]

PV capacity growth in China
In October 2015, China's National Energy Administration (NDRC) set an ambitious 23.1 GW target for 2015, upgrading its previous target of 17.8 GW from March 2015, which was already more than the entire global PV capacity installed in 2010.[10][50] With this revised target, China will have surpassed Germany's total capacity of 40 GW by the end of the year and become the world's largest overall producer of photovoltaic power.
As of October 2015, China plans to install 150 GW of solar power by 2020,[51] an increase of 50 GW compared to the 2020-target announced in October 2014, when China planned to install 100 GW of solar power—along with 200 GW of wind, 350 GW of hydro and 58 GW of nuclear power.[52]
Overall, China has consistently increased its annual and short term targets. However estimates, targets and actual deployment have differed substantially in the past: in 2013 and 2014, China was expected to continue to install 10 GW per year.[2]:37 In February 2014, China's NDRC upgraded its 2014 target from 10 GW to 14 GW[53] (later adjusted to 13 GW[54]) and ended up installing an estimated 10.6 GW due to shortcomings in the distributed PV sector.[55]
By 2016, India plans to have constructed the world’s largest solar farm with a capacity of 750 MW. The country plans to install 100 GW capacity of solar power by 2022, a five-time increase from a previous target.[56] However, India's solar PV deployment was below expectation and actually declined from 1,115 MW in 2013 to 616 MW in 2014, which contrasts with the country’s positive policy tone towards solar PV. For 2015, record installations of more than 2 GW are expected.[33] As of July 13, 2015, total commissioned capacity in India surpassed 4 GW and stands at 4,096 MW, with the state Rajasthan and Gujarat taking the lead with 1,164 MW and 1,000 MW, respectively.[57]
For 2014, installations in Japan reached an all time record level of 9.7 GW, compared to 6.9 GW in 2013. By the end of 2014, Japan's installed PV capacity of 23.3 GW can now contribute about 2.5% to the overall domestic electricity demand.[3]:13 In 2014, Japan also overtook Italy (18.5 GW) as the world's third largest PV nation in terms of cumulative capacity. IHS forecasts that Japan will retain its position as the world's second largest solar market for new installations and grow by 4%, adding another 10.4 GW in 2015.[30]
In March 2015, SEIA, the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research, released their U.S. estimate for 2014. In the United States, a total of 6.2 gigawatts had been installed, up 30 percent over 2013 (vs. previous projection of 6.5 GW in September 2014). This brings the country’s cumulative PV total to 18.3 GW. However, according to IHS, U.S. deployment amounted to 7 GW in 2014, or 800 MW higher than SEIA reported.[30] 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.[58] For 2015, annual PV installations are predicted to increase to 8.1 GW (cumulative of 26.4 GW) by the end of the year.[31] Other sources see U.S. deployment to increase by approximately 9 GW in 2015, before peaking in 2016.[24][30] In May 2015, SEIA predicted U.S. PV-market to grow by 25% to 50% in 2016, with a cumulative PV capactiy of 40 GW by the end of 2016. Roughly, this translates into 13 GW of added capacity in 2016.[46]
PV watts per capita in Europe for 2014 and 2015 (projection)
  <0.1, n/a
(also see animated map, 1992–2014)
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 had already been surpassed in 2014 (prelim. figures account for close to 88 GW by the end of 2014).[3] 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.[2]:35
In 2014, overall European markets continued to decline despite strong growth in some countries. These countries, with their percentage-increase of total capacity, were, the United Kingdom (+80%), the Netherlands (+54%), Switzerland (+42%), Austria (+22%) and France (+20%), which rebounced significantly in terms of annual installations from 643 MW in 2013 to 927 MW in 2014. In most countries, however, deployment underperformed or, in some cases, growth of cumulative capacity even fell below the one percent mark. In descending percentage-order, cumulative installations only grew by 6.0% in Romania (69 MW), 5.2% in Germany (1,900 MW), 2.1% in Italy (385 MW), 2.1% in Belgium (65 MW), 0.4% in Spain (22 MW), 0.2% in Bulgaria (1.6 MW), 0.08% in Slovakia (0.4 MW), 0.06% in Greece (16 MW), and 0.01% in the Czech Republic (1.7 MW).[3]:15
The United Kingdom had the strongest percentage growth and became the fourth largest PV installer worldwide after China, Japan and the United States. In 2014, the country installed more than 2.2 GW (vs. 1.1 GW in 2013) and cumulative installation increased by 80% to 5.1 GW by the end of the year.[59] The booming utility-scale installations were partially explained by the upcoming closure of the appealing renewable obligation certificates (ROC) scheme in March 2015.[54] This may also bring another record deployment in 2015, as IHS forecasts 3.5 GW of installations for the year.[30]
In Germany and Italy, the rate of new installations continued to decline in 2014 and is expected to remain unchanged or even decline to 1.3 GW for 2015.[24] In 2014, Germany installed 1,926 MW, down 36 percent from 3,300 MW deployed in 2013. During the period of 2010–2012, the country was the world's leader installing more than 7 GW annually. New cumulative capacity of 38.2 GW corresponds to 475 watts per inhabitant. Italy installed 385 MW,[60] much less than previously expected and down from 1.5 GW deployed in 2013. Overall capacity of 18.5 GW translates into 304 watts per inhabitant. Solar PV now contributes significantly to domestic net-electricity consumption in Italy (7.9%), Greece (7.6%) and Germany (7.0%).[3]:15

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.[61][62] It was also there at Bell Labs where the first practical c-silicon cell was developed in 1954.[63][64] 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.

PV capacity of leading countries (MW)[3][c]
Year by year cumulative capacities of important markets
     UK        USA        Japan        China        Italy        Germany

In 1977 US-President Jimmy Carter installed solar hot water panels on the White House promoting solar energy[65] 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 during such events, 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 multibillion-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.[66][67] 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's rapid PV growth is expected to continue and to surpass Germany's capacity by the end of 2015, becoming the world's largest producer of photovoltaic power.[9][10]

History of market development[edit]

Prices and costs (1977–present)[edit]

Swanson's law – the PV learning curve
Price decline of c-Si solar cells
Type of cell or module Price per watt
High efficiency multi-Si cell (>17.8%) $0.325
Taiwanese multi-Si cell $0.322
Chinese multi-Si cell $0.294
Mono-Si cell $0.335
Module (multi-Si) $0.532
Module (mono-Si) $0.595
Source: EnergyTrend, price quotes, average prices, 2015[68] 

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, average spot prices in June 2014 were as low as $0.36 per watt or 200 times less than almost forty years ago. Prices for thin-film solar cells and for c-Si solar panels were around $.60 per watt.[69] In 2015, module and cell prices declined even further (see price quotes in table).

This price trend is seen as evidence supporting Swanson's law, an observation similar to the famous Moore's Law that states that the per-watt cost of solar cells and panels fall by 20 percent for every doubling of cumulative photovoltaic production.[70] A 2015 study shows price/kWh dropping by 10% per year since 1980, and predicts that solar could contribute 20% of total electricity consumption by 2030.[71]

In its 2014 edition of the Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published prices for residential, commercial and utility-scale PV systems for eight major markets as of 2013 (see table below).[14] However, IEA's figures for the U.S seem to be controversial, as DOE's SunShot Initiative report states lower prices, although being published at the same time and referring to the same period. Prices have since fallen further. For 2014, the SunShot Initiative modeled U.S. system prices to be in the range of $1.80 to $3.29 per watt.[72] Other sources identify similar price ranges of $1.70 to $3.50 for the different market segments in the U.S.,[73] and in the highly penetrated German market, prices for residential and small commercial rooftop systems of up to 100 kW declined to $1.36 per watt (€1.24/W) by the end of 2014.[74] In 2015, Deutsche Bank estimated costs for small residential rooftop systems in the U.S. around $2.90 per watt. Costs for utility-scale systems in China and India were estimated as low as $1.00 per watt.[5]:9 As of mid-2015, a residential 5 kW-system in Australia costs on average about AU$1.60, or US$1.23 per watt.[75]

Typical PV system prices in 2013 in selected countries (USD)
USD/W Australia China France Germany Italy Japan United Kingdom United States
 Residential 1.8 1.5 4.1 2.4 2.8 4.2 2.8 4.91
 Commercial 1.7 1.4 2.7 1.8 1.9 3.6 2.4 4.51
 Utility-scale 2.0 1.4 2.2 1.4 1.5 2.9 1.9 3.31
Source: IEA – Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy report, September 2014'[14]:15
1U.S figures are lower in DOE's Photovoltaic System Pricing Trends[72]

Technologies (1990–present)[edit]

Market-share of PV technologies since 1990

With the advances in conventional crystalline silicon (c-Si) technology in recent years, and the falling cost of the polysilicon since 2009, that followed after a period of severe shortage (see below) of silicon feedstock, pressure increased on manufacturers of commercial thin-film PV technologies, including amorphous thin-film silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), leading to the bankruptcy of several, once highly touted thin-film companies.[76] The sector continues to face price competition from Chinese crystalline silicon cell and module manufacturers, and some companies together with their patents were sold below cost.[77]

Circle frame.svg

Global PV market by technology in 2013.[78]:18,19

  CdTe (5.1%)
  a-Si (2.0%)
  CIGS (2.0%)
  mono-Si (36.0%)
  multi-Si (54.9%)

In 2013 thin-film technologies accounted for about 9 percent of worldwide deployment, while 91 percent was held by crystalline silicon (mono-Si and multi-Si). With 5 percent of the overall market, CdTe holds more than half of the thin-film market, leaving 2 percent to each, CIGS and amorphous silicon.[79]:24–25

Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) is the name of the semiconductor material the technology is based on. One of the largest producers of CIGS photovoltaics is the Japanese company Solar Frontier with a manufacturing capacity in the gigawatt-scale. The latest CIS line technology includes modules with conversion efficiencies of over 15%.[80] The company profits from the booming Japanese market and attempts to widen its international business. However, several prominent manufacturers couldn't stand the pressure caused by advances in conventional crystalline silicon technology of recent years. The company Solyndra ceased all business activity and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011, and Nanosolar, also a CIGS manufacturer, closed its doors in 2013. Although both companies produced CIGS solar cells, it has been pointed out, that the failure was not due to the technology but rather because of the companies themselves, using a flawed architecture, such as, for example, Solyndra's cylindrical substrates.[81]
The U.S.-company First Solar, a leading manufacturer of CdTe, has been building several of the world's largest solar power stations, such as the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm and Topaz Solar Farm, both in the Californian desert with a staggering 550 MW capacity each, as well as the 102 MWAC Nyngan Solar Plant in Australia, the largest PV power station in the Southern Hemnisphere, commissioned in mid-2015.[82] The company successfully produces CdTe-panels with a steadily increasing efficiency and declining cost per watt, as reported in 2013.[83]:18–19 CdTe has the lowest energy payback time of all mass-produced PV technologies, and can be as short as eight months in favorable locations.[79]:31 The company Abound Solar, also a manufacturer of cadmium telluride modules, went bankrupt in 2012.[84]
In 2012, ECD solar, once one of the world's leading manufacturer of amorphous silicon (a-Si) technology, filed for bankruptcy in Michigan, United States. Swiss OC Oerlikon divested its solar division that produced a-Si/μc-Si tandem cells to Tokyo Electron Limited.[85][86] In 2014, the Japanese electronics and semiconductor company announced the closure of its micromorph technology development program.[87] Other companies that left the amorphous silicon thin-film market include DuPont, BP, Flexcell, Inventux, Pramac, Schuco, Sencera, EPV Solar,[88] NovaSolar (formerly OptiSolar)[89] and Suntech Power that stopped manufacturing a-Si modules in 2010 to focus on crystalline silicon solar panels. In 2013, Suntech filed for bankruptcy in China.[90][91]

Silicon shortage (2005–2008)[edit]

Polysilicon prices since 2004. As of October 2015, the ASP for polysilicon stands at $15.30/kg[68]

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.[92]

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.[93]

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[94]:47

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[2]) 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.[95]

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%.[94]:47

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

After anti-dumping petition were filed and investigations carried out,[96] the United States imposed tariffs of 31 percent to 250 percent on solar products imported from China in 2012.[97] 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.[98]

Shortly thereafter, China, in turn, levied duties on U.S. polysilicon imports, the feedstock for the production of solar cells.[99] In January 2014, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce set its anti-dumping tariff on U.S. polysilicon producers, such as Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation to 57%, while other major polysilicon producing companies, such as German Wacker Chemie and Korean OCI were much less affected.[100] All this has caused much controversy between proponents and opponents and is subject of current debate.

History of deployment[edit]

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]

2015: 55,000 MW (23.5%) 2014: 40,134 MW (17.2%) 2013: 38,352 MW (16.4%) 2012: 30,011 MW (12.8%) 2011: 30,133 MW (12.9%) 2010: 17,151 MW (7.3%) 2009: 7,340 MW (3.1%) 2008: 6,661 MW (2.8%) before: 9,183 MW (3.9%)Circle frame.svg
  •   2015: 55,000 MW (23.5%)
  •   2014: 40,134 MW (17.2%)
  •   2013: 38,352 MW (16.4%)
  •   2012: 30,011 MW (12.8%)
  •   2011: 30,133 MW (12.9%)
  •   2010: 17,151 MW (7.3%)
  •   2009: 7,340 MW (3.1%)
  •   2008: 6,661 MW (2.8%)
  •   before: 9,183 MW (3.9%)
Annual PV deployment as a %-share of global total capacity (projection for 2015).[1][2]

Due to the exponential nature of PV deployment, about 83 percent of the overall capacity has been installed during the last five years from 2011 to 2015 (see pie-chart; projected figure for 2015). Since the 1990s, and except for 2012, each year has been a record-breaking year in terms of newly installed PV capacity.

Global annual installed capacity since 2000, in megawatts (hover with mouse over bar).
      annual deployment[2]:18 for 2014, see section current status       projection for 2015 (55 GW)[d]

Worldwide cumulative[edit]

Worldwide cumulative PV capacity on a semi log chart since 1992

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)[101] for 2000–2013: EPIA Global Outlook on Photovoltaics Report[2]:17 and for 2014, preliminary figures are based on IEA-PVPS' snapshot report[3]

 Year  CapacityA
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% [101]
1997 422 37% [101]
1998 566 34% [101]
1999 807 43% [101]
2000 1,250 55% [101]
 Year  CapacityA
Δ%B Refs
2001 1,615 27% [2]
2002 2,069 28% [2]
2003 2,635 27% [2]
2004 3,723 41% [2]
2005 5,112 37% [2]
2006 6,660 30% [2]
2007 9,183 38% [2]
2008 15,844 73% [2]
2009 23,185 46% [2]
2010 40,336 74% [2]
 Year  CapacityA
Δ%B Refs
2011 70,469 75% [2]
2012 100,504 43% [2]
2013 138,856 38% [2]
2014 178,391 28% [1]
2015 233,000 30% proj.
^A Worldwide, cumulative nameplate capacity in megawatt-peak MWp, (re-)calculated in DC power output.
^B annual increase of cumulative 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]

Most PV deployment figures in this article are provided by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association in the "Global Outlook for Photovoltaics" report, the Observatoire des énergies renouvelables or EurObserv'ER's "Photovoltaic Barometer" report, and the IEA-PVPS (photovoltaic power systems) "Snapshot" and "Trends" report.

History of European PV deployment in watts per capita since 1992.
  <0.1, n/a
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
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 figures for the 28 member states of the European Union.[114] Eurobserver works closely together with several French ministries and is co-founded by the European Commission's IEE programm.[115]
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. An overview of all international statistics PDF reports since 1995 can be found on IEA-PVPS' Statistic Reports website.

Deployment by country[edit]

Further information: Solar power by country
Grid parity for solar PV systems around the world
      Reached grid-parity before 2014
      Reached grid-parity after 2014
      Reached grid-parity only for peak prices
      U.S. states poised to reach grid-parity
Source: Deutsche Bank, as of February 2015
Number of countries with PV capacities in the gigawatt-scale
Growing number of solar gigawatt-markets (end of 2014).
See section Forecast for projected photovoltaic deployment in 2015
Also see section Current status

All time PV installations by country[edit]

Cumulative installed photovoltaic capacity (MWp)
Country 1992 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14
Australia 7.3 8.9 10.7 12.7 15.9 18.7 22.5 25.3 29.2 33.6 39.1 45.6 52.3 60.6 70.3 82.5 105 188 571 1377 2415 3226 4136
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 28.7 32.4 52.6 95.5 187 363 626 766
Belgium   23.7 108 649 1067 2088 2722 3009 3074
Brazil   5 D17 D32 F54
Bulgaria   5.7 35 141 1010 1020 1022
Canada 1.0 1.1 1.5 1.9 2.6 3.4 4.5 5.8 7.2 8.8 10.0 11.8 13.9 16.8 20.5 25.8 32.7 94.6 281 558 766 1211 1710
Chile   C<1 C2 3 368
China   19 23.5 42 52 62 70 80 100 140 300 800 3300 6800 19720 28199
Croatia   0.2 20 34
Cyprus   3.3 6.2 9 17 32 65
Czech   463.3 1952 1959 2087 2175 2134
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 3.2 4.6 7.1 16.7 408 563 603
Estonia   0.05 0.08 0.2 0.2 0.2 n/a
Finland   0.1 1 11 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 36.5 74.5 179 369 1204 2974 4090 4733 5660
Germany 2.9 4.3 5.6 6.7 10.3 16.5 21.9 30.2 89.4 207 324 473 1139 2072 2918 4195 6153 9959 17372 24858 32462 35766 38200
Greece   55 205 624 1536 2579 2595
Guatemala   n/a F+6
Honduras   n/a F+5
Hungary   0.65 1.75 4 12 22 38
India   161 461 1205 2320 2936
Ireland   0.1 3 3 3 3
Israel   0.9 1.0 1.3 1.8 3.0 24.5 69.9 190 237 481 731
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 12809 16454 18074 18460
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 6632 13599 23300
Latvia   0 0.2 1 1 1
Lithuania   0.07 0.2 0.3 6 6 6
Luxembourg   26.4 27.3 30 A30 A30 A45
Malaysia   5.5 7.0 8.8 11.1 12.6 13.5 35 73 160
Malta   1.53 1.67 12 16 23 54
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 20.7 21.7 25.0 30.6 40.1 52.4 112 176
Netherlands   0.1 0.1 0.3 0.7 1.0 1.0 5.3 8.5 16.2 21.7 39.7 43.4 45.4 47.5 48.6 52.8 63.9 84.7 143 363 723 1123
Norway   B6.4 B6.6 B6.9 B7.3 B7.7 B8.0 B8.3 B8.7 B9.1 B9.5 B10 B11 13
Peru   0 D22 n/a n/a
Poland   1.38 1.75 3 7 7 24
Portugal 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.9 1.1 1.3 1.7 2.0 2.0 2.0 4.0 15 56 99 135 169 228 281 391
Romania   0.64 1.94 4 51 1151 1219
Slovakia   0.19 148 508 523 524 533
Slovenia   9.0 35 81 201 212 256
South Africa   1 30 122 922
South Korea 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 2.1 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.7 10.0 11.0 13.8 19.2 41.8 87.2 363 530 656 735 1030 1475 2384
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 5358
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 24 43 79
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 73.6 111 211 437 756 1076
Taiwan   32 102 206 376 776
Thailand   2.9 4.2 10.8 23.9 30.5 32.5 33.4 43.2 49.2 243 388 824 1299
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 8.5 18 58
Ukraine   3 191 326 616 n/a
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 E1901 E3377 5104
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 7272 12079 18280
References [120] [119] [118] [103][111] [102][116] [2][94] [3][108]
Year 1992 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14
^A Strong discrepancy for Luxembourg: EPIA-figures report unchanged capacity of 30 MW for Y2011-2013 (source listed in row "References"), while Photovoltaic Barometer[150] 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[101] and IEA-PVPS trend report|[94] as EIPA outlook report[2]:24 mentions virtually zero deployment (as 0.02 watt per capita results in 0.07 MW).
^C Different data source for Chile, figures based on reports[123] 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 and Peru need to be checked, as sources are unclear. Peru's 22 MW reflects capacity of one solar farm opened in 2012[151][152] Historical data for these countries may be verifiable when new reports are released.
^E Displayed IEA-PVPS/EPIA figures for the United Kingdom differ significantly from those published by DECC.[59][153]
^F Only fragmented figures for all Central American and some Latin American countries available. Based on public figures from GTM's Latin America PV Playbook[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Projection for 2015 is an overall average of estimates from IEA, SPE (EPIA), IHS, MC, Deutsche Bank, and BNEF
  2. ^ Note, that the report does not mention figures for 2015 explicitly. The above figures were inferred from the published bar-chart diagram on page 14, which translate into 41.1 GW for the low-case scenario and 60.2 GW for the high case scenario. Figures can only be as accurate as the diagram itself. The arithmetic mean of both scenarios is 50.7 GW.
  3. ^ See section All time PV installations by country for the corresponding cited sources of historical data
  4. ^ See section forecast for 2015-projections
  5. ^ Displayed figures are recalculated from AC to DC-figure in megawatt-peak (MWp). The AC-to-DC conversion increases figure on average by 15% (normally in the range of 5%–30%)
  6. ^ Percentage figures based on "IEA-PVPS Trends 2014" report. Worldwide PV installations of 39,953 MW corresponds to 100% in the pie-chart. See table "2013—Global PV Capacity by Country in MW" for absolute figures.
  7. ^ IEA-PVPS trends 2014 (see reference in footer), noted on page 33, that the country had 30 MW installed at the beginning of 2013. Cumulative of 122 MW comes from the difference in IEA-PVPS snapshot 2015 report.
  8. ^ Displayed data is EPIA's recalculated DC-figure in megawatt-peak (MWp). Capacity in the original data was reported in AC and amounts to 4,640 MW (cumulative) and 102 MW (installed), as per IEA-PVPS, Trends 2014, p. 34. The conversion results in a difference of approximately 15%. See cited reference.

External links[edit]


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