Europe's PV dominance over – EPIA

As the world passed 100GW of installed PV, the body representing Europe’s industry has flagged up a “turning point” in the evolution of the global market that is seeing the continent’s leading role in the sector evaporate.

Global PV installations stood at 31GW in 2012, roughly the same as the record-setting performance of 2011, according to latest figures from The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).

That brought global installed capacity to just over 102GW – a performance the body labelled as “remarkable during a time of economic crisis”.

But for the first time in more than a decade, the European PV market declined year-on-year and it was left to emerging solar economies to keep global growth on track.

EPIA says 17.2 GW of PV capacity was connected to the grid in Europe in 2012, compared to 22.4GW in 2011.

The continent accounted for 55% of the world’s new PV installations last year, down from 74% in 2011.

And EPIA says: In 2013 it is almost certain that the majority of new PV capacity in the world will be installed outside of Europe.”

While this can be partly explained by “a natural cooling down period after very strong growth in the previous two years”, EPIA says a fundamental change is underway “that will have profound implications in the coming years”.

While Europe can resume growth, the “driving forces” will be in nations such as China, the US and Japan.

According to EPIA, the global annual PV market in 2017 could range from 48GW in “a pessimistic business-as-usual” scenario to as high as 84GW with favourable policies behind it.