The cumulative solar photovoltaic capacity of the world crossed the 100-gigawatt milestone in 2012, to reach over 101 gigawatts, according to figures from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association.
The new global P.V. capacity generates as much electricity annually as 16 coal power plants or nuclear reactors of 1 GW apiece, said E.P.I.A.
The solar association also noted that the world’s P.V. installations can now cut 53 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year.
In 2012 approximately 30 GW of new generating capacity was plugged, around the same level as in 2011.
Germany remains unbeatable as the world’s top P.V. producer, accounting for the largest amount of new P.V. installations at 7.6 GW.
Other top European P.V. markets last year are Italy with 3.3 GW and France with 1.2 GW.
For the past decade, the European countries have been the largest solar P.V. market, collectively comprising two thirds of the global P.V. installations in 2011 – earning the region the title of the “world leader in solar deployment” (see related story).
Meanwhile, the top non-European P.V. markets are China with at least 3.5 GW and as much as 4.5 GW, the United States with 3.2 GW and Japan with 2.5 GW.
“No one would have predicted even 10 years ago that we would see more than 100 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity in the world by 2012,” said E.P.I.A. President Winfried Hoffmann.
“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.”
E.P.I.A. said these figures are initial and could increase by 1 or 2 GW when final results for 2012 are published this coming May. – EcoSeed Staff