Asia tops Europe in PV installed capacity last year
According to the latest data from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), the world has added at least 37GW of PV capacity in 2013, pushing the global PV cumulative installed capacity to 136.7GW at the end of last year. The figures showed that Europe lost its leading role in the PV market in 2013. While it concentrated more than 70 per cent of the global new PV installations in 2011 and still around 59 per cent a year later, with more than 10GW of new capacity installed in 2013, Europe only accounted for 28 per cent of the world's market.
Dynamic Asian markets, led by China and Japan (around 11.3GW and 6.9GW respectively), partially explain this trend reversal, as the Asia-Pacific region represented 57 per cent of 2013's global market. The trend is expected to continue, with China experiencing sustained volumes which should enable the country to remain the number-one market in the coming years.
Germany was the top performing European market in 2013 with 3.3GW (down from 7.6GW in 2012). Several European markets were close to the GW mark: Italy (between 1.1GW and 1.4GW), UK (in between 1GW and 1.2GW), Romania (1.1GW) and Greece (1.04GW).
"In a number of European countries, harsh support reduction, retrospective measures and unplanned changes to regulatory frameworks that badly affect investors' confidence and PV investments viability have led to a significant market decrease," said Gatan Masson, EPIA head of business intelligence. This is particularly the case for Italy, third global market in 2012, which experienced a 70 per cent market decrease compared to the year before. Germany, formerly the top global market, also experienced in 2013 a steep PV market decrease (57 per cent decrease compared to 2012), originating from intentional regulatory changes.
"Despite our preliminary 2013 results, solar PV remains on the way to becoming a major source of energy for Europe and the world. Last year, PV was the second new source of electricity generation installed in Europe. From 0.3 per cent of Europe's electricity needs in 2008, PV already covers as much as three per cent only five years later," added Winfried Hoffmann, EPIA president. "Only with coherent, dynamic, stable and predictable support policies can Europe regain a leading position in the energy revolution and further develop PV markets. In view of that, a truly ambitious climate and energy policy framework for 2030, that would include a meaningful and binding renewables target for each individual Member State, is absolutely crucial".
- Paul Buckley
EE Times Europe