Thursday, October 18, 2012

EU leads the way in installing photovoltaics

The newly installed photovoltaics are appearing all over the world with Europe still leading the way. In fact, according to a latest study by the by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, Europe accounted for two thirds of the global newly installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2011, with 18.5 GW. With it, the Europe's overall PV capacity increased to 52 GW and solar power now accounts for approximately 2% of the EU’s electricity needs.

In the last decade or so Europe has been committed to clean energy policy with the special emphasis on solar energy. Translated in numbers this means that over the last ten years, the PV industry grew in Europe by an average of over 40% per year. This growth couldn't be achieved without the major drop in the production costs as PV production prices have decreased by approximately 60%.

The strong European solar power sector means that Europe is one step closer in achieving its goal of satisfying 20% of its energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Germany is still EU's photovoltaic leader (and global leader too). Behind Germany there were several other EU countries that have significantly improved their PV capacity. The EU solar leader list also includes Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.

EU total photovoltaic capacity
The photovoltaic industry is developing rapidly on global scale too. The global PV installation data shows that since 2000, global PV production increased by between 40 and 90%. The fastest growth in annual PV capacity over the last five years occurred in Asia, where China alone accounts for more than 50% of the new PV production.

Starting from 2010, and for the second year in a row, solar power was the most invested renewable energy source, with a total amount of 98.5 billion euros world-wide being invested. Two thirds of this total investment was concentrated in Europe.

China continues to challenge EU's lead in solar power development. China's massive investment in PV manufacturing has resulted in Chinese being by far the world's largest solar panel manufacturers. Though the China is world's largest solar panel manufacturer, Europe still leads the way in PV research and development, making constant innovations within the European PV manufacturing equipment industry.

The development of PV technology and its deployment has become a major business with solar energy industry being one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The global business knows no boundaries and we could soon see major partnerships between Europe, Asia and the United States.

The need for further PV innovation is still present in both efficiency as well as the costs. Solar power technologies are still connected with relatively high costs, and the efficiency of solar panels has plenty of room for further improvements.

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