With a cumulative installed capacity of over 51 GW, the European Union is leading in PV installations with more than 70 percent of the total worldwide 70 GW of solar PV electricity generation capacity at the end of 2011, the report noted.
Europe accounted for two thirds of the world-wide newly installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2011, with 18.5 GW. Its overall PV capacity totalled 52 GW.
The yearly electricity produced by PV could power a country with the electricity demand of Austria, which corresponds to 2% of the EU’s electricity needs. These are some of the highlights of the 2012 Photovoltaics Status Report published today by the JRC.
The study summarises and evaluates the current activities regarding manufacturing, policies and market implementation world-wide.
Over the past ten years, the PV industry grew in Europe by an average of over 40% per year and the production costs have decreased by around 60%. Underlying this progress is the EU commitment towards PV systems as a means to achieve the goal of using 20% of renewable energy by 2020.
Germany, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom are the leaders in installed PV capacity in Europe.
Two-thirds of the world’s photovoltaic capacity were installed in Europe in 2011, according to the 2012 Photovoltaics Status Report published by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC).
Over the past ten years, JRC observed that the PV industry has increased in Europe by an average of over 40 percent per year, and the production costs have dropped by about 60 percent. This progress is in line with Europe’s goal of using 20 percent of renewable energy by 2020.
Germany, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom are the leaders in installed PV capacity in Europe. However, the report indicates that PV market conditions differ substantially from country to country.
This is due to different energy policies and public support programs for renewable energies as well as the varying grades of liberalization of domestic electricity markets.
For the past decade, the report noted that the solar PV electricity generation capacity has surged 280 times, from 185 MW in 2000 to 52 GW at the end of 2011. A total of about 46.1 GW of new power capacity was connected in the EU in 2011 and 7.8 GW were decommissioned, resulting in 38.3 GW of new net capacity.
In 2011, JRC said PV electricity generation capacity accounted for 21.5 GW, or 56 percent of the new net capacity. As a comparison, wind power moved to the second place with 9.4 GW (25%), followed by 8.8 GW (23%) gas-fired power stations; 3.1 GW (8%) MW coal-fired power stations; 590 MW (1.5%) hydro, 470 MW (1.2%) CSP, 170 MW (> 1%) biomass; and 70 MW (> 1%) waste.
The report noted that the European PV industry is challenged by China’s massive investment in PV manufacturing. However, the delivery of manufacturing equipment from Europe to Asia is still beneficial as Europe still has the lead in PV R&D, thereby innovating the European PV manufacturing equipment industry.