Following the difficult year of 2012 in terms of market growth, industry consolidation, policy uncertainty and ongoing fast cost reduction, 2013 has seen a slower evolution on the cost side but also a growing worldwide market again, although with a different split of dominant markets compared to the past.
The fast rise of PV markets in Asia and America has been confirmed as has the decline of the total market in Europe. Overall, 35 GW of PV were installed in IEA PVPS member countries during 2013 (2012: 25 GW), whereas the global PV market is estimated to be at least 39 GW, translating to more than an average of 100 MW installed on a daily basis throughout the year. The global installed total PV capacity is estimated at roughly 140 GW at the end of 2013. PV system prices have seen a slower decline than in the years before or even small increases, indicating that the speed of future cost reduction may be reduced. On the supply side, the indicators suggest that the consolidation phase in the industry starts to be overcome although competition remains high.
At the same time, at the present comparatively low prices, some price flexibility for different applications can be expected. With PV life cycle costs of electricity reaching socket parity with electricity grids in some countries, self consumption and new business models gain importance while Feed-in Tariffs continue to evolve. Overall, this is an encouraging sign for the growing competitiveness of PV and the increasing occurrence of self-sustained markets. Clearly, policy support is changing over time but is still considered essential for the near term development of PV markets worldwide.
Quantitatively, the number of countries experiencing PV as an essential part of their electricity supply is increasing, with Italy in first place with close to 8% of annual electricity demand coming from PV, followed by Germany (> 6%) and Greece (close to 6%). In terms of peak capacity, these high shares of PV start to affect and pose challenges to the integration in the electricity system. New business models and market designs will emerge in response to this development. All of these developments are clear signs that PV is becoming more mature and a relevant part of the electricity supply system.