Global solar power capacity set to jump - EPIA

Reuters News
Posted: May 07, 2012 12:33 PM

By Svetlana Kovalyova

VERONA, Italy (Reuters) - The world's solar power generating capacity will grow by between 200 and 400 percent over the next five years, with Asia and other emerging markets overtaking leadership from Europe, a European industry association said on Monday.

Global installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity, which turns sunlight into power, is expected to have risen to between 207.9 gigawatts and 342.8 GW in 2016, depending on the level of political support, from 69.7 GW in 2011, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) said.

This year, the world's total PV capacity is expected to rise to between 90 and 110 GW, EPIA's Secretary General Reinhold Buttgereit told a PV conference in northern Italy.

"The growth will depend on the support of politicians. It's not only about money, it's also about reducing bureaucracy," Buttgereit told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.

Germany, the world's biggest PV market, is likely to be the main global driver this year, followed by China, the United States and Japan, while Italy which was the fastest growing solar market in 2011 will slow down the growth pace, he said.

Europe accounted for 75 percent of new PV installations last year when the added capacity spiked by 29.7 GW, the EPIA said in its global market outlook until 2016 distributed at the conference.

"Europe has dominated the global PV market for years but the rest of the world clearly has the biggest potential for growth," the report said.

The fastest PV capacity growth is expected in China and India, followed by the southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, the report said.

Depending on the policy support, global PV capacity may add between 20.6 GW and 41.4 GW in 2013 and keep rising by between 38.8 GW and 77.3 GW in 2016, the report said.

Germany and Italy, the two biggest solar markets in the world, have decided to cut production incentives to solar power generation this year to reduce the burden on consumers who pay for subsidies with their power bills.

Incentives such as feed-in tariffs are the industry's lifeblood as long as solar power is more expensive than conventional forms of energy. But prices of solar equipment plunged in 2012 and are falling this year, prompting governments to cut support.

(Editing by Greg Mahlich)