According to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), global PV installations could reach 48 GW in 2017.
The figure comes from the EPIA’s latest publication, “Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013-2017,” which forecasts the global and European solar market outlook.
The report confirmed that 31 GW of new solar PV capacity was added globally in 2012, but only 55 percent of that capacity was in Europe, down from over 70 percent in 2011.
Solar PV was the top new source of electricity installed in Europe for the second year in a row, now making up 2.6 percent of electricity demand on the continent.
But the report said, as made clear by the increase in PV installations across Asia in recent years, “Europe’s leading role in driving the global PV market is coming to an end.” It was the first year in a decade that Europe’s installations fell year-on-year.
While Germany was the leading market for PV installations, with 7.6 GW, China came in second with 5 GW, followed by Italy (3.4 GW), the U.S. (3.3 GW) and Japan (2 GW).
“The results of 2012 signal a turning point that will have profound implications in the coming years,” said EPIA President Winfried Hoffmann.
“The global PV market is shifting from one driven mostly by Europe to one that also depends on countries around the world with varying degrees of solar potential and the political will to exploit it.”
The EPIA forecast that the annual PV market could reach 48 GW in 2017 under a “pessimistic” scenario; in a “policy driven” scenario, demand could reach 84
GW. The difference is the extent to which governments will continue to support the technology through subsidies.
“Even in challenging times, the prospects going forward for solar PV – a clean, safe and infinitely renewable power source – remain solid, especially the medium- to long-term,” said Hoffman.
“The main questions are how and where continued PV growth will occur, and how committed policymakers are to making it happen.”