Germany still biggest PV market - Asia and the USA in fast pursuit
Germany was still the world’s largest cumulative PV market in 2011 and current figures show that this growth is still continuing. In the first 5 months of 2012, the country’s solar PV energy production already grew by 46 percent compared to 2011, with PV generation supplying 5.3 % of Germany’s total electricity needs for this first half of the year. This makes the German market twice as big as the runner-up, Italy. The Italian market, on the other hand, was the fastest growing market of 2011, with more than 9 GW installed in just one year. The expectation, however, is that Italy will not be able to maintain this growth.
Asian Tigers on the Prowl
According to Solarplaza’s overview of the world’s biggest PV markets
(aggregated from public sources), Chinese solar power installations in 2011 were five times the level of those in 2010. This makes the Chinese market the fastest growing market in terms of percentages. The Chinese PV market is growing incredibly fast and might already be competing with Germany and Italy next year. Predictions show that the Chinese market will have grown to 8 GW by 2015 and to 50 GW by 2020.
Another market on the rise is India. The Indian market has more than 0.5 GW of cumulative installed capacity, of which 0.35 GW was installed in 2011. The amount of yearly installed PV power has increased with more than 500% and by 2016 the total amount of installed PV will exceed 12 GW. With this growth, India will soon be one of the most important solar markets in the world.
With almost all of Japan’s nuclear reactors inactive following the Fukushima disaster, Japan has set a course towards a more renewable energy mix, which means the country will be focusing more on the development of solar energy. In 2011 Japan installed almost 1.3 GW of solar power and this amount is set to increase in the coming years, with the country aiming to reach a national PV target of 28 GW by 2020.
As other Asian countries will follow, including Korea and Taiwan, Asia looks set to take over the lead in the global PV market.
The American Market
Globally, a total of 27.6 GW of solar PV power had been installed in 2011. Though the growth of the European countries was substantial in the year 2011, it looks like Europe will soon be overtaken not just by the Asian markets but also by the American market. Almost 2 GW had been installed in the USA - doubling its annual growth - and it is expected that this growth will continue in the next couple of years to a total amount of 8 GW in 2016.
All these signs point towards a shift of balance within the global solar PV market. Within five years, the American and Asian markets are set to take over the current lead from the European markets.
The Blank Spots
When looking at world map of the leading solar PV markets there are two remarkable blank spots that catch the eye: the entire continents of Africa and South-America seem to be excluded from the global PV market. Looks can be deceiving, though. Early data shows the large potential of emerging markets like Morocco and South-Africa in Africa, and young markets like Chile, Peru and Brazil in South-America. While the current trends point towards Asian and North-American growth spurts for the coming five years, these newcomers might drastically change the global picture on the long term.
To learn more about these markets, keep an eye on the Solarplaza event-calendar, as we’re organizing conferences and trade missions in these future PV markets, such as the upcoming PV Business Tour: Brazil in September 2012 and The Solar Future: Chile conference in November 2012.