Record-Year for Photovoltaic Markets in 2013, Asia Taking Over the Leading Role

With at least 37 GW of newly-added capacity globally, 2013 was another record-year for photovoltaic (PV) installations. The internationalisation trend of PV markets already observed in 2012 accentuated in 2013, with Asia taking the lead over Europe as the n°1 region for new PV installations.

According to preliminary figures1 gathered by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and presented today during its 9th Market Workshop in Brussels, the world added at least 37 GW of new PV capacity in 2013. The global PV cumulative installed capacity reached an impressive 136.7 GW at the end of last year, which represents a 35% increase compared to the year before.

These globally positive figures result from a much qualified situation at regional level, with Europe losing its leading role in the PV market in 2013. While it concentrated more than 70% of the world’s new PV installations in 2011 and still around 59% a year later, with more than 10 GW of new capacity installed in 2013, Europe only accounted for 28% of the world’s market.

Dynamic Asian markets, led by China and Japan (around 11.3 GW and 6.9 GW respectively), partially explain this trend reversal, as the Asia-Pacific region represented 57% of last year’s global market. Such trend is expected to continue, with China experiencing a robust and sustained growth which should enable the country to remain the number-one market in the coming years.

Conversely, the relative slowdown of European PV markets should not be underestimated. “In a number of European countries, harsh support reduction, retrospective measures and unplanned changes to regulatory frameworks that badly affect investors’ confidence and PV investments viability have led to a significant market decrease”, said Gaëtan Masson, EPIA Head of Business Intelligence. This is particularly the case for Italy – third global market in 2012 – which experienced a 70% market decrease compared to the year before. Germany – formerly the top global market – also experienced in 2013 a steep PV market decrease (57% decrease compared to 2012), originating from intentional regulatory changes.

“Despite our preliminary 2013 results, solar photovoltaics remains on the way to becoming a major source of energy for Europe and the world. Last year, PV was the second new source of electricity generation installed in Europe. From 0.3% of Europe’s electricity needs in 2008, PV already covers as much as 3% only five years later”, added Winfried Hoffmann, EPIA President. “Only with coherent, dynamic, stable and predictable support policies can Europe regain a leading position in the energy revolution and further develop PV markets. In view of that, a truly ambitious climate and energy policy framework for 2030, that would include a meaningful and binding renewables target for each individual Member State, is absolutely crucial”, he concluded.

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