Solar power broke the 100GW threshold in 2012, with more than 30GW connected to the electricity grid last year.
According to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), the world’s total solar PV electricity capacity was a little more than 101GW at the end of last year, equivalent to energy produced by 16 coal power plants or nuclear reactors of 1GW each.
Winfried Hoffmann, EPIA President said: “No one would have predicted even 10 years ago that we would see more than 100GW of solar photovoltaic capacity in the world by 2012. The photovoltaic industry clearly faces challenges but the results of 2012 show there is a strong global market for our technology. Even in tough economic times and despite growing regulatory uncertainty, we have nearly managed to repeat the record year of 2011.
“The key going forward will be to address these new market challenges and continue policies that help PV technology to grow sustainably, continuing its evolution to a mainstream electricity source.”
The top three European PV markets last year were Germany (7.6GW), Italy (3.3GW) and France (1.2GW) and those outside Europe were China (at least 3.5GW and possibly as much as 4.5GW), the US (3.2GW) and Japan (2.5GW). According to the statistics, non-European markets accounted for more than 13GW of the total worldwide, compared to just under 8GW in 2011.