Two-thirds of the world's new solar panels were installed in Europe in 2011

Sep 24, 2012

Europe accounted for two thirds of the world-wide newly installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2011, with 18.5 GW. Its overall PV capacity totalled 52 GW. The yearly electricity produced by PV could power a country with the electricity demand of Austria, which corresponds to 2% of the EU's electricity needs. These are some of the highlights of the 2012 Photovoltaics Status Report published today by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.

The study summarises and evaluates the current activities regarding manufacturing, policies and market implementation world-wide.

Over the past ten years, the PV industry grew in Europe by an average of over 40% per year and the production costs have decreased by around 60%. Underlying this progress is the EU commitment towards as a means to achieve the goal of using 20% of renewable energy by 2020.

Germany, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom are the leaders in installed PV capacity in Europe.

Since 2000, world-wide, total PV production had growth rates of between 40 and 90%. The most rapid growth in annual production over the last five years was observed in Asia, where China alone accounts for more than 50% of the world's PV production. In addition, for the second year in a row, was the that attracted most investment, with a total of 98.5 billion euros world-wide, of which two thirds were concentrated in Europe.

A challenge for the European industry in this field is China's massive investment in PV manufacturing, which has led to an economy of scale in manufacturing in that country. However, the delivery of manufacturing equipment from Europe to Asia is still beneficial as Europe still has the lead in PV research and development, thereby innovating the European PV manufacturing equipment industry.

The report highlights that PV technology and its deployment is a and considers that of PV technologies could spring from international cooperation on eco-innovation, in partnership with Asia and the United States.

In addition, it highlights that there is a large scope for PV innovation in the achievement of both energy efficiency and improved design in buildings. PV modules can be incorporated and specifically designed as building materials, functioning as an insulation material and fostering a new "European PV-architecture", whilst at the same time providing one of the key technologies required to achieve zero emissions buildings.

Explore further: Boeing and Chinese firm to turn 'gutter oil' into jet fuel

More information: 2012 Photovoltaics Status Report: re.jrc.ec.europa.eu/refsys/

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Lurker2358
3 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2012
Over the past ten years, the PV industry grew in Europe by an average of over 40% per year and the production costs have decreased by around 60%.


That's impressive.

Is that a regression of a compounded growth rate, or is that a linear average of the total growth?

Linear average would represent 400% growth per decade.

If its a regression of compounded growth(geometric or exponential) would represent an enormous growth of around 2900% per decade.

Could someone clarify?

Linear average seems to make mote sense, but then again, based on the returns I calculated from Solar, an exponential growth rate for commercial and industrial applications is sustainable over intervals longer than the first payback period.
Lord_jag
1 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2012
They're almost getting to the point that they're going to have free energy on a mid summer day - all energy supplied by solar.

A fine day that will be indeed when they can turn all the hydro electric damns off and store power for night.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2012
A fine day that will be indeed when they can turn all the hydro electric damns off and store power for night.


And a grave day for the solar industry, because that will be the day when you can connect no more solar panels to the grid.

Otherwise, where would you put the excess?

Beyond that point you hit diminishing returns, because the methods of storing the energy for later use start to cost more than the energy is worth. For example, turning the excess into hydrogen and back will see 80% of it lost in conversion, which in and of itself will make the electricity 5 times more expensive, plus the cost and maintenance of the equipment.
Eikka
not rated yet Sep 25, 2012
If its a regression of compounded growth(geometric or exponential) would represent an enormous growth of around 2900% per decade.


That might easily be, considering how little solar power there was in 2002. Germany alone increased their arsenal 10 times over between 2005-2011 through lavish subsidies. In total, the increase in the EU27 group was 23.7 times in that interval from 2.17 to 51.36 GWp.

Still, in real terms that amount of solar power provides only about 4-5 GW on average, which is not enough to replace the nuclear power stations that Germany has shut down.