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International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power System Programme (IEA PVPS) publishes its 18th "Trends in Photovoltaic Applications" Report

(PresseBox) (Brussels, Belgium, ) IEA PVPS published its 18th "Trends in Photovoltaic Applications" report on Friday 25 October. This unique report provides official and accurate data about the photovoltaic (PV) market, industry, support policies, research activities and the integration of PV into the power sector in the 23 countries reporting to the IEA PVPS Programme, plus a reliable estimate of the other most important PV markets. With close to 100 GW installed globally, PV has reached a point where it starts to develop irrespective of financial support. However, the main market driver remains the Feed-in Tariffs responsible for 61% of the global market in 2012.

After several years of PV market rapid growth, 2012 has been a year of market and industry consolidation. In total, about 29.3 GW of PV capacity were installed in the IEA PVPS countries and the other major markets during 2012 (2011: 29.1 GW; 2010: 16.6 GW). This raised the total installed capacity in IEA PVPS countries to close to 89.3 GW with further estimates placing the total installed capacity in the world close to, but below, 100 GW.

Feed-in Tariffs remain the dominant driver for PV market development with 61% of PV installations in 2012 having been underpinned by FiTs. However, for the first time, purely competitive PV installations are progressing (including self-consumption) and represented already 12% of the market in 2012. Other support schemes represented 27% of the market.

In Europe, for the second year in a row, PV was the primary source of electricity installed (in terms of power capacity), ahead of wind and gas, and also ahead of all other sources of electricity generation, from coal to nuclear. In several countries, the annual PV contribution to electricity demand has passed the 1% mark, with Italy at the top with at least 7 % and the overall European PV contribution amounting to around 2.6% of Europe's electricity demand. Australia has also passed the 1% mark but larger consumers of electricity such as Japan, China or the USA will require more PV capacity to reach this threshold. Across the world, PV represents 0.6% of the electricity demand based on installations at the end of 2012.

The PV industry produced 36 GW of modules in 2012, for the second year in a row, with a market slightly below 30 GW and production capacities at 58 GW. This explains the huge price decrease PV experienced in 2011 and 2012 as well as the subsequent trade conflicts that emerged in 2012. In addition, the global turnover of the PV sector dropped in 2012 from 110 Billion USD to 75 Billion, due to market stabilisation and the price decreases.

Finally, PV has extremely rapidly become a significant source of electricity in several countries worldwide. The speed of its development comes from its unique ability to cover most market segments, from the very small individual systems for rural electrification to utility-scale power plants (today above 200 MW in size). From the built environment to large ground-mounted installations, PV prevails as an energy source of choice as a consequence of the various characteristics that make it suitable for most environments.


The IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (PVPS) is one of the collaborative R&D Agreements established within the IEA and, since its establishment in 1993, the PVPS participants have been conducting a variety of joint projects in the application of photovoltaic conversion of solar energy into electricity. The 28 PVPS members are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, EPIA, the European Union, France, Germany, the International Copper Alliance, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, SEIA, SEPA, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (PVPS) / NET Ltd.

This unique report is the 18th edition of its kind. It has been prepared by IEA PVPS Task 1 largely on the basis of National Survey Reports provided by Task 1 participating countries. The data presented in the report are official data that were validated data by national governments. To obtain electronic copies of this report or information on other IEA PVPS publications please visit the IEA PVPS website