Europe’s leading role in solar P.V. industry about to end – report

P.V. has been playing a key role in Europe’s electricity mix (see related story), being the top new source of electricity generation for two years in a row. It currently covers 2.6 percent of the electricity demand and 5.2

Europe has been at the forefront of the solar photovoltaic industry for decades now, however, the region’s leadership is coming to an end as the rest of the world takes on solar power and market dynamics steadily shift, found a new report by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association.

P.V. has been playing a key role in Europe’s electricity mix (see related story), being the top new source of electricity generation for two years in a row. It currently covers 2.6 percent of the electricity demand and 5.2 percent of the peak electricity demand in the region.

Back in 2011, the European Union alone accounted for two thirds or 70 percent of the world’s new solar installations. Last year, this figure shrank to 55 percent. From 22.4 gigawatts two years ago, the region’s additional capacity dropped to 17.2 GW in 2012.

The E.P.I.A. sees this decline continuing, stating that in 2013 it is almost certain that the majority of new P.V. capacity in the world will be installed outside of Europe.

As of now, Germany maintains its position as the leading market worldwide (see related story), recording 7.6 GW of newly installed capacity in 2012 followed by China with nearly 5 GW, Italy with 3.4 GW, and the United States with 3.3 GW and Japan with around 2 GW.

A separate analysis of NPD Solarbuzz also see’s Europe’s dominance in the global solar market declining. Solarbuzz sees China overtaking Germany as the global P.V. leader starting 2013, with countries in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa region, and the Caribbean to emerge as new hubs for solar P.V. development in 2014 (see related story).

Global market growth amidst economic crisis

Overall, the E.P.I.A. report showed 31.1 GW of P.V. systems were plugged in globally last year, an increase from 30.4 GW in 2011.

The E.P.I.A said this market growth came amidst a period of economic crisis and industry consolidation, noting that P.V. remains the third most important renewable energy source in terms of globally installed capacity after hydro and wind energy.

Looking ahead, the report estimated the global annual market could reach 48 GW in 2017 under a pessimistic business as-usual scenario and soar as high as 84 GW in 2017 under a policy-driven scenario.

“The results of 2012 signal a turning point that will have profound implications in the coming years,” said E.P.I.A. President Winfried Hoffmann.

“The global P.V. market is shifting from one driven mostly by Europe to one that also depends on countries around the world with varying degrees of solar potential and the political will to exploit it,” he stressed. – EcoSeed Staff

ECOticias.com – EcoSeed

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