Global solar installations are expected to reach 60GW in the next five years, with the market estimated to be around $147 billion (£96bn).
The installations are predicted to grow by 10.7% and the market by 5.6% to 2018 from last year, which saw 29.6GW worth of capacity installed, according to analysts at Transparency Market Research.
The researchers suggested the growing demand for alternative electricity, lower than expected solar prices and strong Government support in the form of incentive schemes will drive demand for solar systems in the next five years. However, wet climate across different regions leading to deterioration of solar panels, limited life of batteries used in off-grid solar systems and slashed feed-in tariff rates could restrain market growth.
The residential sector, which accounted for 30.22% of the overall demand in 2011, is forecast to be one of the fastest growing markets. Europe, Middle East and Africa dominated the global solar market in terms of volume in 2011, with 75.7% of overall annual installed capacity.
Solar power broke the 100GW threshold last year, with more than 30GW connected to the electricity grid last year. Last week ELN reported Japan could become the largest solar market in the world after China.