JRC PV Status Report Forecasts Increase in Photovoltaic Growth

The manufacturing of thin-film solar cells should be increased and the introduction of concentrated solar power photovoltaics (CPVs) should be accelerated. Concentrating solar photovoltaics (CPVs) is a new technology . According to the tenth edition of the JRC PV Status Report, the photovoltaic (PV industry) has more than doubled its manufacturing levels in 2010 and achieved a record global production level of 23.5 GW.

The report indicates that from the year 1990, the PV module manufacture has achieved 500 fold increase from a mere 46 MW to 23.5 GW in 2010 and has become one among the top growing industries presently. The current solar modules use solar cells with increased efficiency and are designed to last for around 25 years and provide a viable alternative solution to the rising costs of conventional power generation and interruptions from overloaded grids.

The report indicates that the solar PV installations including grid connected and non-grid connected have reached a capacity of more than 29 GW and the European Union is ahead in the installation race. It also points out that in the last part of the year 2010 solar PV installations in Europe have produced over 70% of the solar power generated globally.

According to the report, the last few years have witnessed a drastic change in the PV industry and China has turned into a major solar cell and module manufacturing country succeeded by Taiwan, Germany and Japan. The report further states that among the top twenty PV producers only four companies such as First Soar, Q-Cells, REC and Solarworld were having their the manufacturing facilities in Europe.

The report shows that the price of the solar modules have come down by 50% during the last three years, due to the increased production of modules. Business forecasters envisage growing investments in PV technology and anticipate that it will grow from the present 35-40 billion in 2010 to more than € 70 billion in 2015 while the prices are expected to come down. The report also indicates that the availability of the feed-in-tariff incentives and ever increasing energy costs and demands for greenhouse gas reduction will continue to assist the growth of solar PV systems.

According to the report, PV will continue to achieve a higher level of growth and suggests pursuing different pathways to preserve the present level of the growth rate. It also stresses the need for bringing down the level of silicon usage in solar cell as it is a major factor in deciding the price of a solar module and suggests increasing the production of concentrated photovoltaic.

By José Santamarta, http://re.jrc.ec.europa.eu/