Growth of photovoltaics
Worldwide growth of photovoltaics has been an exponential curve between 1992–2017. During this period of time, photovoltaics (PV), also known as solar PV, evolved from a niche market of small scale applications to a mainstream electricity source. When solar PV systems were first recognized as a promising renewable energy technology, programs, such as feed-in tariffs, were implemented by a number of governments in order to provide economic incentives for investments. For several years, growth was mainly driven by Japan and pioneering European countries. As a consequence, cost of solar declined significantly due to Experience curve effects like improvements in technology and economies of scale.
Experience curves describe that the price of a thing decreases with the sum-total ever produced. PV growth increased even more rapidly when production of solar cells and modules started to ramp up in the USA with their Million Solar Roofs project, and when renewables were added to China's 2011 five-year-plan for energy production. Since then, deployment of photovoltaics has gained momentum on a worldwide scale, particularly in Asia but also in North America and other regions, where solar PV by 2015–17 was increasingly competing with conventional energy sources as grid parity has already been reached in about 30 countries.:9
Projections for photovoltaic growth are difficult and burdened with many uncertainties. Official agencies, such as the International Energy Agency consistently increased their estimates over the years, but still fell short of actual deployment.
Historically, the United States was the leader of installed photovoltaics for many years, and its total capacity amounted to 77 megawatts in 1996—more than any other country in the world at the time. Then, Japan was the world's leader of produced solar electricity until 2005, when Germany took the lead and by 2016 had a capacity of over 40 gigawatts. However, in 2015, China became world's largest producer of photovoltaic power, and in 2017 became the first country to surpass the 100 GW of cumulative installed PV capacity. China is expected to be the leader in installed PV capacity, and along with India and US, it is forecasted to be the largest market for solar PV installations in the coming decade.
By the end of 2016, cumulative photovoltaic capacity reached about 302 gigawatts (GW), estimated to be sufficient to supply between 1.3% and 1.8% of global electricity demand. Solar contributed 8%, 7.4% and 7.1% to the respective annual domestic consumption in Italy, Greece and Germany. The European Photovoltaic Industry Association, a solar industry trade group, claims installed worldwide capacity will more than double or even triple to more than 500 GW between 2016 and 2020; by 2050, it claims solar power will become the world's largest source of electricity. Such an achievement would require PV capacity to grow to 4,600 GW, of which more than half was forecast to be deployed in China and India.
Nameplate capacity denotes the peak power output of power stations in unit watt prefixed as convenient, to e.g. kilowatt (kW), megawatt (MW) and gigawatt (GW). Because power output for variable renewable sources is unpredictable, however, using nameplate capacity as a metric significantly overstates a source's average generation. Thus, capacity is typically multiplied by a suitable capacity factor, which takes into account varying conditions - weather, nighttime, latitude, maintenance, etc. to give energy planners an idea of a source's value to the public. In addition, depending on context, the stated peak power may be prior to a subsequent conversion to alternating current, e.g. for a single photovoltaic panel, or include this conversion and its loss for a grid connected photovoltaic power station.:15:10 Worldwide, the average solar PV capacity factor is 11%.
Wind power has different characteristics, e.g. a higher capacity factor and about four times the 2015 electricity production of solar power. Compared with wind power, photovoltaic power production correlates well with power consumption for air-conditioning in warm countries. As of 2017[update] a handful of utilities have started combining PV installations with battery banks, thus obtaining several hours of dispatchable generation to help mitigate problems associated with the duck curve after sunset.
For a complete history of deployment over the last two decades, also see section History of deployment.
In 2016, photovoltaic capacity increased by at least 75 GW, with a 50% growth year-on-year of new installations. Cumulative installed capacity reached at least 302 GW by the end of the year, sufficient to supply 1.8 percent of the world's total electricity consumption.
In 2014, Asia was the fastest growing region, with more than 60% of global installations. China and Japan alone accounted for 20 GW or half of worldwide deployment. Europe continued to decline and installed 7 GW or 18% of the global PV market, three times less than in the record-year of 2011, when 22 GW had been installed. For the first time, North and South America combined accounted for at least as much as Europe, about 7.1 GW or about 18% of global total. This was due to the strong growth in the United States, supported by Canada, Chile and Mexico.
In terms of cumulative capacity, Europe was still the most developed region with 88 GW or half of the global total of 178 GW. Solar PV covered 3.5% and 7% of European electricity demand and peak electricity demand, respectively in 2014.:6 The Asia-Pacific region (APAC) which includes countries such as Japan, India and Australia, followed second and accounted for about 20% percent of worldwide capacity. China was third with 16%, followed by the Americas with about 12%. Cumulative capacity in the MEA (Middle East and Africa) region and ROW (rest of the world) accounted for only about 3.3% of the global total.
Worldwide growth of photovoltaics is extremely dynamic and varies strongly by country. The top installers of 2016 were China, the United States, and India. There are more than 24 countries around the world with a cumulative PV capacity of more than one gigawatt. Austria, Chile, and South Africa, all crossed the one gigawatt-mark in 2016. The available solar PV capacity in Honduras is now sufficient to supply 12.5% of the nation's electrical power while Italy, Germany and Greece can produce between 7% and 8% of their respective domestic electricity consumption.
|2015||2016||2017||Share of total|
|China||15,150||43,530||34,540||78,070||53,000||131,000||1.82% (2017) |
|South Korea||1,010||3,430||850||4,350||1,200||5,600||1.0% (2016)|
|1 Share of total electricity consumption for latest available year|
Forecast for 2017Edit
On December 19, 2016, IHS Markit forecast that global new installations would reach 79 GW, representing 3% growth. In July 2017 the SolarPower Europe Association predicted 80.5 GW installed capacity (medium scenario) with a spread ranging from 58.5 GW (low scenario) to 103.6 GW (high scenario). On August 21, 2017, Greentech Media predicted that the global solar market will grow about 4% in 2017, reaching 81.1 GW, after 2016 saw a total of 77.8 GW. On September 14, 2017, EnergyTrend predicted the global solar market in 2017 will reach 100.4 GW, an increase about 26% over previous year.
Global short-term forecastEdit
In August 2017, GTM Research predicted that by 2022 cumulative installed global photovoltaic capacity will likely reach 871 gigawatts.
Global long-term forecast (2050)Edit
In 2014, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its latest edition of the Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy report, calling for clear, credible and consistent signals from policy makers. The IEA also acknowledged to have previously underestimated PV deployment and reassessed its short-term and long-term goals.
IEA report Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy (September 2014):1 —
- Much has happened since our 2010 IEA technology roadmap for PV energy. PV has been deployed faster than anticipated and by 2020 will probably reach twice the level previously expected. Rapid deployment and falling costs have each been driving the other. This progress, together with other important changes in the energy landscape, notably concerning the status and progress of nuclear power and CCS, have led the IEA to reassess the role of solar PV in mitigating climate change. This updated roadmap envisions PV's share of global electricity rising up to 16% by 2050, compared with 11% in the 2010 roadmap.
IEA's long-term scenario for 2050 described how worldwide solar photovoltaics (PV) and concentrated solar thermal (CSP) capacity would reach 4,600 GW and 1,000 GW, respectively. In order to achieve IEA's projection, PV deployment of 124 GW and investments of $225 billion were required annually. This was about three and two times levels at that time, respectively. By 2050, levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) generated by solar PV would cost between US 4¢ and 16¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh), or by segment and on average, 5.6¢ per kWh for utility-scale power plants (range of 4¢ to 9.7¢), and 7.8¢ per kWh for solar rooftop systems (range of 4.9¢ to 15.9¢):5,24 These estimates were based on a weighted average cost of capital (WACC) of 8%. The report noted that when the WACC exceeds 9%, over half the LCOE of PV is made of financial expenditures, and that more optimistic assumptions of a lower WACC would therefore significantly reduce the LCOE of solar PV in the future.:24–25 The IEA also emphasized that these new figures were not projections but rather scenarios they believe would occur if underlying economic, regulatory and political conditions played out.
In 2015, Fraunhofer ISE did a study commissioned by German renewable think tank Agora Energiewende and concluded that most scenarios fundamentally underestimate the role of solar power in future energy systems. Fraunhofer's study (see summary of its conclusions below) differed significantly from IEA's roadmap report on solar PV technology despite being published only a few months apart. The report foresaw worldwide installed PV capacity would reach as much as 30,700 GW by 2050. By then, Fraunhofer expected LCOE for utility-scale solar farms to reach €0.02 to €0.04 per kilowatt-hour, or about half of what the International Energy Agency had been projecting (4¢ to 9.7¢). Turnkey system costs would decrease by more than 50% to €436/kWp from currently €995/kWp.:67 This is also noteworthy, as IEA's roadmap published significantly higher estimates of $1,400 to $3,300 per kWp for eight major markets around the world (see table Typical PV system prices in 2013 below).:15 However, the study agreed with IEA's roadmap report by emphasizing the importance of the cost of capital (WACC), which strongly depends on regulatory regimes and may even outweigh local advantages of higher solar insolation.:1, 53 In the study, a WACC of 5%, 7.5% and 10% was used to calculate the projected levelized cost of electricity for utility-scale solar PV in 18 different markets worldwide.:65
Fraunhofer ISE: Current and Future Cost of Photovoltaics. Long-term Scenarios for Market Development, System Prices and LCOE of Utility-Scale PV Systems. Study on behalf of Agora Energiewende (February 2015):1 —
- Solar photovoltaics is already today a low-cost renewable energy technology. Cost of power from large scale photovoltaic installations in Germany fell from over 40 ct/kWh in 2005 to 9 cts/kWh in 2014. Even lower prices have been reported in sunnier regions of the world, since a major share of cost components is traded on global markets.
- Solar power will soon be the cheapest form of electricity in many regions of the world. Even in conservative scenarios and assuming no major technological breakthroughs, an end to cost reduction is not in sight. Depending on annual sunshine, power cost of 4–6 cts/kWh are expected by 2025, reaching 2–4 ct/kWh by 2050 (conservative estimate).
- Financial and regulatory environments will be key to reducing cost in the future. Cost of hardware sourced from global markets will decrease irrespective of local conditions. However, inadequate regulatory regimes may increase cost of power by up to 50 percent through higher cost of finance. This may even overcompensate the effect of better local solar resources.
- Most scenarios fundamentally underestimate the role of solar power in future energy systems. Based on outdated cost estimates, most scenarios modeling future domestic, regional or global power systems foresee only a small contribution of solar power. The results of our analysis indicate that a fundamental review of cost-optimal power system pathways is necessary.
- As of October 2015, China planned to install 150 GW of solar power by 2020, an increase of 50 GW compared to the 2020-target announced in October 2014, when China planned to install 100 GW of solar power—along with 200 GW of wind, 350 GW of hydro and 58 GW of nuclear power.
- Overall, China has consistently increased its annual and short term targets. However estimates, targets and actual deployment have differed substantially in the past: in 2013 and 2014, China was expected to continue to install 10 GW per year.:37 In February 2014, China's NDRC upgraded its 2014 target from 10 GW to 14 GW (later adjusted to 13 GW) and ended up installing an estimated 10.6 GW due to shortcomings in the distributed PV sector.
- The country planned to install 100 GW capacity of solar power by 2022, a five-time increase from a previous target.
- Japan has a target of 53 GW of solar PV capacity by 2030, and 10% of total domestic primary energy demand met with solar PV by 2050. The 2030 target was reached in 2018.
- By 2020, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) expected PV capacity to pass 150 GW. It found the EC-supervised national action plans for renewables (NREAP) were too conservative, as the goal of 84 GW of solar PV by 2020 had already been surpassed in 2014 – preliminary figures accounted for close to 88 GW by the end of 2014. For 2030, EPIA originally predicted solar PV would reach between 330 and 500 GW, supplying 10 to 15 percent of Europe's electricity demand. However, later reassessments were more pessimistic and foreacst a 7 to 11 percent share, if no major policy changes are undertaken.:35
History of leading countriesEdit
Since the 1950s, when the first solar cells were commercially manufactured, there has been a succession of countries leading the world as the largest producer of electricity from solar photovoltaics. First it was the United States, then Japan, followed by Germany, and currently China.
United States (1954–1996)Edit
The United States, inventor of modern solar PV, was the leader of installed capacity for many years. Based on preceding work by Swedish and German engineers, the American engineer Russell Ohl at Bell Labs patented the first modern solar cell in 1946. It was also there at Bell Labs where the first practical c-silicon cell was developed in 1954. Hoffman Electronics, the leading manufacturer of silicon solar cells in the 1950s and 1960s, improved on the cell's efficiency, produced solar radios, and equipped Vanguard I, the first solar powered satellite launched into orbit in 1958.
In 1977 US-President Jimmy Carter installed solar hot water panels on the White House promoting solar energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, originally named Solar Energy Research Institute was established at Golden, Colorado. In the 1980s and early 1990s, most photovoltaic modules were used in stand-alone power systems or powered consumer products such as watches, calculators and toys, but from around 1995, industry efforts have focused increasingly on developing grid-connected rooftop PV systems and power stations. By 1996, solar PV capacity in the US amounted to 77 megawatts–more than any other country in the world at the time. Then, Japan moved ahead.
Japan took the lead as the world's largest producer of PV electricity, after the city of Kobe was hit by the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. Kobe experienced severe power outages in the aftermath of the earthquake, and PV systems were then considered as a temporary supplier of power during such events, as the disruption of the electric grid paralyzed the entire infrastructure, including gas stations that depended on electricity to pump gasoline. Moreover, in December of that same year, an accident occurred at the multibillion-dollar experimental Monju Nuclear Power Plant. A sodium leak caused a major fire and forced a shutdown (classified as INES 1). There was massive public outrage when it was revealed that the semigovernmental agency in charge of Monju had tried to cover up the extent of the accident and resulting damage. Japan remained world leader in photovoltaics until 2004, when its capacity amounted to 1,132 megawatts. Then, focus on PV deployment shifted to Europe.
In 2005, Germany took the lead from Japan. With the introduction of the Renewable Energy Act in 2000, feed-in tariffs were adopted as a policy mechanism. This policy established that renewables have priority on the grid, and that a fixed price must be paid for the produced electricity over a 20-year period, providing a guaranteed return on investment irrespective of actual market prices. As a consequence, a high level of investment security lead to a soaring number of new photovoltaic installations that peaked in 2011, while investment costs in renewable technologies were brought down considerably. In 2016 Germany's installed PV capacity was over the 40 GW mark.
China surpassed Germany's capacity by the end of 2015, becoming the world's largest producer of photovoltaic power. China's rapid PV growth continued in 2016 – with 34.2 GW of solar photovoltaics installed. The quickly lowering feed in tariff rates at the end of 2015 motivated many developers to secure tariff rates before mid-year 2016 – as they were anticipating further cuts (correctly so). During the course of the year, China announced its goal of installing 100 GW during the next Chinese Five Year Economic Plan (2016–2020). China expected to spend ¥1 trillion ($145B) on solar construction during that period. Much of China's PV capacity was built in the relatively less populated west of the country whereas the main centres of power consumption were in the east (such as Shanghai and Beijing). Due to lack of adequate power transmission lines to carry the power from the solar power plants, China had to curtail its PV generated power.
History of market developmentEdit
Prices and costs (1977–present)Edit
|Type of cell or module||Price per Watt|
|Multi-Si Cell (>18.4%)||$0.135|
|Mono-Si Cell (>20.0%)||$0.143|
|High Efficiency Mono-Si Cell (>21.0%)||$0.176|
|270W Multi-Si Module||$0.255|
|280W Multi-Si Module||$0.275|
|290W Mono-Si Module||$0.295|
|300W Mono-Si Module||$0.305|
|Source: EnergyTrend, price quotes, average prices, 1 August 2018 |
The average price per watt dropped drastically for solar cells in the decades leading up to 2017. While in 1977 prices for crystalline silicon cells were about $77 per watt, average spot prices in June 2014 were as low as $0.36 per watt or 200 times less than almost forty years ago. Prices for thin-film solar cells and for c-Si solar panels were around $.60 per watt. Module and cell prices declined even further after 2014 (see price quotes in table).
This price trend was seen as evidence supporting Swanson's law (an observation similar to the famous Moore's Law) that states that the per-watt cost of solar cells and panels fall by 20 percent for every doubling of cumulative photovoltaic production. A 2015 study showed price/kWh dropping by 10% per year since 1980, and predicted that solar could contribute 20% of total electricity consumption by 2030.
In its 2014 edition of the Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published prices for residential, commercial and utility-scale PV systems for eight major markets as of 2013 (see table below). However, DOE's SunShot Initiative report states lower prices than the IEA report, although both reports were published at the same time and referred to the same period. After 2014 prices fell further. For 2014, the SunShot Initiative modeled U.S. system prices to be in the range of $1.80 to $3.29 per watt. Other sources identified similar price ranges of $1.70 to $3.50 for the different market segments in the U.S. In the highly penetrated German market, prices for residential and small commercial rooftop systems of up to 100 kW declined to $1.36 per watt (€1.24/W) by the end of 2014. In 2015, Deutsche Bank estimated costs for small residential rooftop systems in the U.S. around $2.90 per watt. Costs for utility-scale systems in China and India were estimated as low as $1.00 per watt.:9 As of May 2017, a residential 5 kW-system in Australia cost on average about AU$1.25, or US$0.93 per watt.
|USD/W||Australia||China||France||Germany||Italy||Japan||United Kingdom||United States|
|Source: IEA – Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy report, September 2014':15|
1U.S figures are lower in DOE's Photovoltaic System Pricing Trends
There were significant advances in conventional crystalline silicon (c-Si) technology in the years leading up to 2017. The falling cost of the polysilicon since 2009, that followed after a period of severe shortage (see below) of silicon feedstock, pressure increased on manufacturers of commercial thin-film PV technologies, including amorphous thin-film silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), lead to the bankruptcy of several thin-film companies that had once been highly touted. The sector faced price competition from Chinese crystalline silicon cell and module manufacturers, and some companies together with their patents were sold below cost.
In 2013 thin-film technologies accounted for about 9 percent of worldwide deployment, while 91 percent was held by crystalline silicon (mono-Si and multi-Si). With 5 percent of the overall market, CdTe held more than half of the thin-film market, leaving 2 percent to each CIGS and amorphous silicon.:24–25
- Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) is the name of the semiconductor material on which the technology is based. One of the largest producers of CIGS photovoltaics in 2015 was the Japanese company Solar Frontier with a manufacturing capacity in the gigawatt-scale. Their CIS line technology included modules with conversion efficiencies of over 15%. The company profited from the booming Japanese market and attempted to expand its international business. However, several prominent manufacturers could not keep up with the advances in conventional crystalline silicon technology. The company Solyndra ceased all business activity and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011, and Nanosolar, also a CIGS manufacturer, closed its doors in 2013. Although both companies produced CIGS solar cells, it has been pointed out, that the failure was not due to the technology but rather because of the companies themselves, using a flawed architecture, such as, for example, Solyndra's cylindrical substrates.
- The U.S.-company First Solar, a leading manufacturer of CdTe, built several of the world's largest solar power stations, such as the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm and Topaz Solar Farm, both in the Californian desert with 550 MW capacity each, as well as the 102 MWAC Nyngan Solar Plant in Australia (the largest PV power station in the Southern Hemisphere at the time) commissioned in mid-2015. The company was reported in 2013 to be successfully producing CdTe-panels with a steadily increasing efficiency and declining cost per watt.:18–19 CdTe was the lowest energy payback time of all mass-produced PV technologies, and could be as short as eight months in favorable locations.:31 The company Abound Solar, also a manufacturer of cadmium telluride modules, went bankrupt in 2012.
- In 2012, ECD solar, once one of the world's leading manufacturer of amorphous silicon (a-Si) technology, filed for bankruptcy in Michigan, United States. Swiss OC Oerlikon divested its solar division that produced a-Si/μc-Si tandem cells to Tokyo Electron Limited. In 2014, the Japanese electronics and semiconductor company announced the closure of its micromorph technology development program. Other companies that left the amorphous silicon thin-film market include DuPont, BP, Flexcell, Inventux, Pramac, Schuco, Sencera, EPV Solar, NovaSolar (formerly OptiSolar) and Suntech Power that stopped manufacturing a-Si modules in 2010 to focus on crystalline silicon solar panels. In 2013, Suntech filed for bankruptcy in China.
Silicon shortage (2005–2008)Edit
In the early 2000s, prices for polysilicon, the raw material for conventional solar cells, were as low as $30 per kilogram and silicon manufacturers had no incentive to expand production.
However, there was a severe silicon shortage in 2005, when governmental programmes caused a 75% increase in the deployment of solar PV in Europe. In addition, the demand for silicon from semiconductor manufacturers was growing. Since the amount of silicon needed for semiconductors makes up a much smaller portion of production costs, semiconductor manufacturers were able to outbid solar companies for the available silicon in the market.
Initially, the incumbent polysilicon producers were slow to respond to rising demand for solar applications, because of their painful experience with over-investment in the past. Silicon prices sharply rose to about $80 per kilogram, and reached as much as $400/kg for long-term contracts and spot prices. In 2007, the constraints on silicon became so severe that the solar industry was forced to idle about a quarter of its cell and module manufacturing capacity—an estimated 777 MW of the then available production capacity. The shortage also provided silicon specialists with both the cash and an incentive to develop new technologies and several new producers entered the market. Early responses from the solar industry focused on improvements in the recycling of silicon. When this potential was exhausted, companies have been taking a harder look at alternatives to the conventional Siemens process.
As it takes about three years to build a new polysilicon plant, the shortage continued until 2008. Prices for conventional solar cells remained constant or even rose slightly during the period of silicon shortage from 2005 to 2008. This is notably seen as a "shoulder" that sticks out in the Swanson's PV-learning curve and it was feared that a prolonged shortage could delay solar power becoming competitive with conventional energy prices without subsidies.
In the meantime the solar industry lowered the number of grams-per-watt by reducing wafer thickness and kerf loss, increasing yields in each manufacturing step, reducing module loss, and raising panel efficiency. Finally, the ramp up of polysilicon production alleviated worldwide markets from the scarcity of silicon in 2009 and subsequently lead to an overcapacity with sharply declining prices in the photovoltaic industry for the following years.
Solar overcapacity (2009–2013)Edit
As the polysilicon industry had started to build additional large production capacities during the shortage period, prices dropped as low as $15 per kilogram forcing some producers to suspend production or exit the sector. Prices for silicon stabilized around $20 per kilogram and the booming solar PV market helped to reduce the enormous global overcapacity from 2009 onwards. However, overcapacity in the PV industry continued to persist. In 2013, global record deployment of 38 GW (updated EPIA figure) was still much lower than China's annual production capacity of approximately 60 GW. Continued overcapacity was further reduced by significantly lowering solar module prices and, as a consequence, many manufacturers could no longer cover costs or remain competitive. As worldwide growth of PV deployment continued, the gap between overcapacity and global demand was expected in 2014 to close in the next few years.
IEA-PVPS published in 2014 historical data for the worldwide utilization of solar PV module production capacity that showed a slow return to normalization in manufacture in the years leading up to 2014. The utilization rate is the ratio of production capacities versus actual production output for a given year. A low of 49% was reached in 2007 and reflected the peak of the silicon shortage that idled a significant share of the module production capacity. As of 2013, the utilization rate had recovered somewhat and increased to 63%.:47
Anti-dumping duties (2012–present)Edit
After anti-dumping petition were filed and investigations carried out, the United States imposed tariffs of 31 percent to 250 percent on solar products imported from China in 2012. A year later, the EU also imposed definitive anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on imports of solar panels from China at an average of 47.7 percent for a two-year time span.
Shortly thereafter, China, in turn, levied duties on U.S. polysilicon imports, the feedstock for the production of solar cells. In January 2014, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce set its anti-dumping tariff on U.S. polysilicon producers, such as Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation to 57%, while other major polysilicon producing companies, such as German Wacker Chemie and Korean OCI were much less affected. All this has caused much controversy between proponents and opponents and was subject of debate.
History of deploymentEdit
Deployment figures on a global, regional and nationwide scale are well documented since the early 1990s. While worldwide photovoltaic capacity grew continuously, deployment figures by country were much more dynamic, as they depended strongly on national policies. A number of organizations release comprehensive reports on PV deployment on a yearly basis. They include annual and cumulative deployed PV capacity, typically given in watt-peak, a break-down by markets, as well as in-depth analysis and forecasts about future trends.
|Year(a)||Name of PV power station||Country||Capacity|
|1985||Carrisa Plain||United States||5.6|
|2005||Bavaria Solarpark (Mühlhausen)||Germany||6.3|
|2006||Erlasee Solar Park||Germany||11.4|
|2008||Olmedilla Photovoltaic Park||Spain||60|
|2010||Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant||Canada||97|
|2011||Huanghe Hydropower Golmud Solar Park||China||200|
|2012||Agua Caliente Solar Project||United States||290|
|2014||Topaz Solar Farm(b)||United States||550|
|2015||Longyangxia Dam Solar Park||China||850|
|2016||Tengger Desert Solar Park||China||1547|
|Also see list of noteworthy solar parks|
(a) year of final commissioning (b) capacity given in MWAC otherwise in MWDC
Worldwide annual deploymentEdit
- 2017: 95,000 MW (23.7%)
- 2016: 76,600 MW (19.1%)
- 2015: 50,909 MW (12.7%)
- 2014: 40,134 MW (10.0%)
- 2013: 38,352 MW (9.6%)
- 2012: 30,011 MW (7.5%)
- 2011: 30,133 MW (7.5%)
- 2010: 17,151 MW (4.3%)
- 2009: 7,340 MW (1.8%)
- 2008: 6,661 MW (1.7%)
- before: 9,183 MW (2.3%)
Due to the exponential nature of PV deployment, most of the overall capacity has been installed in the years leading up to 2017 (see pie-chart). Since the 1990s, each year has been a record-breaking year in terms of newly installed PV capacity, except for 2012. Contrary to some earlier predictions, early 2017 forecasts were that 85 gigawatts would be installed in 2017. Near end-of-year figures however raised estimates to 95 GW for 2017-installations.
Worldwide growth of solar PV capacity was an exponential curve between 1992 and 2017. Tables below show global cumulative nominal capacity by the end of each year in megawatts, and the year-to-year increase in percent. In 2014, global capacity was expected to grow by 33 percent from 139 to 185 GW. This corresponded to an exponential growth rate of 29 percent or about 2.4 years for current worldwide PV capacity to double. Exponential growth rate: P(t) = P0ert, where P0 is 139 GW, growth-rate r 0.29 (results in doubling time t of 2.4 years).
The following table contains data from four different sources. For 1992–1995: compiled figures of 16 main markets (see section All time PV installations by country), for 1996–1999: BP-Statistical Review of world energy (Historical Data Workbook) for 2000–2013: EPIA Global Outlook on Photovoltaics Report:17 and for 2014: preliminary figures based on IEA-PVPS' snapshot report
Deployment by countryEdit
- See section Forecast for projected photovoltaic deployment in 2017
All time PV installations by countryEdit
- See section All time PV installations by country for the corresponding cited sources of historical data
- "Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2016–2020" (PDF). www.solarpowereurope.org. Solar Power Europe (SPE), formerly known as EPIA – European Photovoltaic Industry Association. Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
- "Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2015–2019" (PDF). www.solarpowereurope.org. Solar Power Europe (SPE), formerly known as EPIA – European Photovoltaic Industry Association. Archived from the original on 9 June 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014–2018" (PDF). www.epia.org. EPIA – European Photovoltaic Industry Association. Archived from the original on 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- "Snapshot of Global PV 1992–2014" (PDF). www.iea-pvps.org/index.php?id=32. International Energy Agency — Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 30 March 2015. Archived from the original on 30 March 2015.
- "Snapshot of Global PV 1992–2015" (PDF). www.iea-pvps.org. International Energy Agency – Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2015.
- "Snapshot of Global PV Markets 2016" (PDF). IEA-PVPS. p. 11. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
- "Global Market Outlook 2017–2021" (PDF). SolarPower Europe. 13 June 2017. p. 7. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- Global Solar Market Demand Expected To Reach 100 Gigawatts In 2017, Says SolarPower Europe: 95 GW added (taken figure), per 24 October 2017 (Sums up to 306.5 GW + 95 GW = 401.5 GW); +31%
- "10 Trends That Will Shape the Global Solar Market in 2018". Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- Lacey, Stephen (12 September 2011). "How China dominates solar power". Guardian Environment Network. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- "Crossing the Chasm" (PDF). Deutsche Bank Markets Research. 27 February 2015. Archived from the original on 1 April 2015.
- "Trump Admin. Outlines Global Solar Plan: 10 Terawatts By 2030". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "The projections for the future and quality in the past of the World Energy Outlook for solar PV and other renewable energy technologies" (PDF). Energywatchgroup. September 2015.
- Osmundsen, Terje (4 March 2014). "How the IEA exaggerates the costs and underestimates the growth of solar power". Energy Post. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
- Whitmore, Adam (14 October 2013). "Why Have IEA Renewables Growth Projections Been So Much Lower Than the Out-Turn?". The Energy Collective. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
- "China Targets 70 Gigawatts of Solar Power to Cut Coal Reliance". Bloomberg News. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- "China's National Energy Administration: 17.8 GW Of New Solar PV In 2015 (~20% Increase)". CleanTechnica. 19 March 2015.
- "Snapshot of Global Photovoltaic Markets 2017" (PDF). report. International Energy Agency. 19 April 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
- International Energy Agency (2014). "Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy" (PDF). www.iea.org. IEA. Archived from the original on 7 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Snapshot of Global PV 1992–2013" (PDF). www.iea-pvps.org/index.php?id=trends0. International Energy Agency — Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 31 March 2014. Archived from the original on 5 April 2014.
- "Electric generator capacity factors vary widely around the world". www.eia.gov. 6 September 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
- Alter, Lloyd (2017-01-31). "Tesla kills the duck with big batteries". TreeHugger. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
- LeBeau, Phil (2017-03-08). "Tesla battery packs power the Hawaiian island of Kauai after dark". cnbc.com. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
- IEA: Global Installed PV Capacity Leaps to 303 Gigawatts, greentechmedia, Eric Wesoff, April 27, 2017
- 2016 SNAPSHOT OF GLOBAL PHOTOVOLTAIC MARKETS, IEA, 2016
- , IEA, 2017
- "Snapshot of Global Photovoltaic Markets" (PDF). report. International Energy Agency. 22 April 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "2017 electricity & other energy statistics (update of June 2018) | China Energy Portal | 中国能源门户". China Energy Portal | 中国能源门户. 2018-06-14. Retrieved 2018-07-28.
- "National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Australia 2016". International Energy Agency - Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2017-07-26. p. 8. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- "National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Korea 2016". International Energy Agency - Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2018-07-31. p. 6. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- "National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Belgium 2016". International Energy Agency - Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2017-09-14. p. 6. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- "National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Canada 2016". International Energy Agency - Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2017-09-27. p. 8. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- "CBS Hernieuwbare elektriciteit; productie en vermogen". CBS. 4 July 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
- "National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Switzerland 2016". International Energy Agency - Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2017-08-30. p. 8. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
- "National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Austria 2016". International Energy Agency - Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2017-10-25. p. 5. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- "National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Denmark 2016". International Energy Agency - Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2017-09-27. p. 10. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
- "TRENDS 2016 IN PHOTOVOLTAIC APPLICATIONS" (PDF). IEA.
- Mike Munsell (22 January 2016). "IEA PVPS: 177 GW of PV installed worldwide". news. Greentech Media. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Global Solar PV Demand Grows For 10th Straight Year, 2017 Will Be Bigger". Cleantechnica. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
- "Global Market Outlook 2017-2021". SolarPower Europe Association. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "Global Solar Demand Monitor: Q2 2017". Greentech Media Research. Retrieved 2017-08-25.
- "Strong Chinese Market to Push Annual Global Photovoltaic Demand Above 100 Gigawatts for 2017". EnergyTrend. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
- IEA.org How solar energy could be the largest source of electricity by mid-century, 29 September 2014
- Giles Parkinson (24 February 2015). "Solar at 2c/kWh – the cheapest source of electricity". REneweconomy.
- Fraunhofer ISE (February 2015). "Current and Future Cost of Photovoltaics—Long-term Scenarios for Market Development, System Prices and LCOE of Utility-Scale PV Systems" (PDF). www.agora-energiewende.org. Agora Energiewende. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "China's PV power capacity to hit 150 gigawatts by 2020". Xinhuanet.com. 13 October 2015.
- "China Plans to Install 200GW of Wind and 100GW of Solar Power by 2020". EnergyTrend.com. 14 October 2014. Archived from the original on 17 October 2014.
- "China confirms new solar PV target of 14GW for 2014". Renew Economy.
- Solar Installations to Rise 20 Percent in 2014, Thanks to Strong Fourth Quarter, 8 October 2014
- "China's 2014 Solar Figures Confirmed, 10.6 GW Pushes Country To 30 GW". CleanTechnica.
- International Business Time, India: World's largest solar plant that will generate 750 MW of power commissioned, 16 February 2015
- United States Patent and Trademark Office – Database
- Magic Plates, Tap Sun For Power. Popular Science. June 1931. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- "Bell Labs Demonstrates the First Practical Silicon Solar Cell". aps.org.
- D. M. Chapin-C. S. Fuller-G. L. Pearson. "Journal of Applied Physics — A New Silicon p–n Junction Photocell for Converting Solar Radiation into Electrical Power". aip.org.
- Biello David (6 August 2010). "Where Did the Carter White House's Solar Panels Go?". Scientific American. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- Pollack, Andrew (24 February 1996). "REACTOR ACCIDENT IN JAPAN IMPERILS ENERGY PROGRAM". New York Times.
- wise-paris.org Sodium Leak and Fire at Monju
- S Hill, Joshua (January 22, 2016). "China Overtakes Germany To Become World's Leading Solar PV Country". Clean Technica. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- "NEA: China added 34.24 GW of solar PV capacity in 2016". www.solarserver.com. Retrieved 2017-01-22.
- "China to plow $361 billion into renewable fuel by 2020". Reuters. 2017-01-05. Retrieved 2017-01-22.
- Baraniuk, Chris (2017-06-22). "Future Energy: China leads world in solar power production". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
- "China wasted enough renewable energy to power Beijing for an entire year, says Greenpeace". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "China to erect fewer farms, generate less solar power in 2017". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Price quotes updated weekly – PV Spot Prices". PV EnergyTrend. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- "PriceQuotes". pv.energytrend.com. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
- "Sunny Uplands: Alternative energy will no longer be alternative". The Economist. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- J. Doyne Farmer, François Lafond (2 November 2015). "How predictable is technological progress?". doi:10.1016/j.respol.2015.11.001. License: cc. Note: Appendix F. A trend extrapolation of solar energy capacity.
- "Photovoltaic System Pricing Trends – Historical, Recent, and Near-Term Projections, 2014 Edition" (PDF). NREL. 22 September 2014. p. 4. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015.
- "Solar PV Pricing Continues to Fall During a Record-Breaking 2014". GreenTechMedia. 13 March 2015.
- "Photovoltaik-Preisindex" [Solar PV price index]. PhotovoltaikGuide. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
Turnkey net-prices for a solar PV system of up to 100 kWp amounted to Euro 1,240 per kWp.
- Australia solar power system prices May 2017
- RenewableEnergyWorld.com How thin film solar fares vs crystalline silicon, 3 January 2011
- Diane Cardwell; Keith Bradsher (January 9, 2013). "Chinese Firm Buys U.S. Solar Start-Up". The New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- "Photovoltaics Report" (PDF). Fraunhofer ISE. 28 July 2014. Archived from the original on 31 August 2014.
- "Photovoltaics Report". Fraunhofer ISE. 28 July 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 August 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- "Solar Frontier Completes Construction of the Tohoku Plant". Solar Frontier. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- Andorka, Frank (8 January 2014). "CIGS Solar Cells, Simplified". Solar Power World. Archived from the original on 16 August 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
- "Nyngan Solar Plant". AGL Energy Online. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- CleanTechnica.com First Solar Reports Largest Quarterly Decline In CdTe Module Cost Per-Watt Since 2007, 7 November 2013
- Raabe, Steve; Jaffe, Mark (November 4, 2012). "Bankrupt Abound Solar of Colo. lives on as political football". Denver Post.
- "The End Arrives for ECD Solar". greentechmedia.com. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
- "Oerlikon Divests Its Solar Business and the Fate of Amorphous Silicon PV". greentechmedia.com. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
- SolarChoice.net.au Falling market shares predicted for amorphous silicon PV technology, 5 May 2014
- GreenTechMedia.com Rest in Peace: The List of Deceased Solar Companies, 6 April 2013
- "NovaSolar, Formerly OptiSolar, Leaving Smoking Crater in Fremont". greentechmedia.com. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
- "Chinese Subsidiary of Suntech Power Declares Bankruptcy". New York Times. 20 March 2013.
- "Suntech Seeks New Cash After China Bankruptcy, Liquidator Says". Bloomberg News. 29 April 2014.
- Wired.com Silicon Shortage Stalls Solar 28 March 2005
- "Solar State of the Market Q3 2008 – Rise of Upgraded Metallurgical Silicon". SolarWeb. Lux Research Inc. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- "IEA PVPS TRENDS 2014 in Photovoltaic Applications" (PDF). www.iea-pvps.org/index.php?id=trends. 12 October 2014. Archived from the original on 2 December 2014.
- "Annual Report 2013/2014" (PDF). ISE.Fraunhofer.de. Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems-ISE. 2014. p. 1. Archived from the original on 5 November 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
- Europa.eu EU initiates anti-dumping investigation on solar panel imports from China
- U.S. Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties on Chinese Solar Imports, 12 May 2012
- Europa.eu EU imposes definitive measures on Chinese solar panels, confirms undertaking with Chinese solar panel exporters, 02 December 2013
- "China to levy duties on US polysilicon imports". China Daily. 16 September 2013. Archived from the original on 30 April 2015.
- "Wacker, OCI benefiting from China's polysilicon duties". PV magazine. 30 January 2014. Archived from the original on 30 April 2015.
- Global Solar Market Demand Expected To Reach 100 Gigawatts In 2017, Says SolarPower Europe, CleanTechnica, 27 October 2017
- "GTM Forecasting More Than 85 Gigawatts Of Solar PV To Be Installed In 2017". CleanTechnica. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
"Statistical Review of World Energy – Historical Data Workbook BP". www.bp.com. BP. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
downloadable XL-spread sheet
- "China Is Adding Solar Power at a Record Pace". Bloomberg.com. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
- "TRENDS IN PHOTOVOLTAIC APPLICATIONS – Survey report of selected IEA countries between 1992 and 2008". www.iea-pvps.org/. International Energy Agency – Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
- "TRENDS IN PHOTOVOLTAIC APPLICATIONS – Survey report of selected IEA countries between 1992 and 2009". www.iea-pvps.org/. International Energy Agency – Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
- "TRENDS IN PHOTOVOLTAIC APPLICATIONS – Survey report of selected IEA countries between 1992 and 2010". www.iea-pvps.org/. International Energy Agency – Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
- "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics until 2016" (PDF). www.epia.org. EPIA – European Photovoltaic Industry Association. Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- EUROBSER'VER. "Photovoltaic Barometer – installations 2010 and 2011". www.energies-renouvelables.org. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013–2017" (PDF). www.epia.org. EPIA – European Photovoltaic Industry Association. Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- "IEA PVPS TRENDS 2013 in Photovoltaic Applications" (PDF). www.iea-pvps.org/index.php?id=92. 29 November 2013. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015.
- EUROBSER'VER (April 2015). "Photovoltaic Barometer – installations 2013 and 2014" (PDF). www.energies-renouvelables.org. Archived from the original on 6 May 2015.
- EUROBSER'VER (April 2016). "Photovoltaic Barometer – installations 2014 and 2015" (PDF). www.energies-renouvelables.org. Archived from the original on 11 January 2017.
- "Trends 2016 in Photovoltaic Applications – Survey report of selected IEA countries between 1992 and 2015" (PDF). www.iea-pvps.org. International Energy Agency – Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2016. Archived from the original on 11 January 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
- PV Barometre at the end of 2013, page 6
- Centro de Energías Renovables, CORFO (July 2014). "Reporte CER". Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- "Photovoltaic stations". T-Solar Group. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
Repartición solar farm, Location: Municipalidad Distrital La Joya. Province: Arequipa. Power: 22 MWp
- "Latin America's Largest Solar Power Plant Receiving 40 MW of Solar PV Modules from Yingli Solar (Peru)". CleanTechnica. 15 October 2012.
- "Statistics – Solar photovoltaics deployment". gov.uk. DECC – Department of Energy & Climate Change. 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
- "Why DECC struggles to keep up with solar PV capacity data…and why we don't". Solar Power Portal. 26 June 2015.
- "Latin America Country Markets 2014-2015E". GTM Research. 10 May 2015.
- EUROBSER'VER. "Photovoltaic Barometer – installations 2012 and 2013" (PDF). www.energies-renouvelables.org. Archived from the original on 9 September 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
- EUROBSER'VER. "Photovoltaic Barometer – installations 2011 and 2012". www.energies-renouvelables.org. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- EUROBSER'VER. "Photovoltaic Barometer – installations 2009 and 2010". www.energies-renouvelables.org. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- EUROBSER'VER. "Photovoltaic Barometer – installations 2008 and 2009". www.energies-renouvelables.org. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- IEA–International Energy Agency, Publications
- IEA–PVPS, IEA's Photovoltaic Power System Programme
- NREL–National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Publications
- FHI–ISE, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems
- APVI–Australian PV Institute
- EPIA–European Photovoltaic Industry Association
- SEIA–Solar Energy Industries Association
- CanSIA–Canadian Solar Industries Association
- on YouTube – Cost analysis of current PV production, PV learning curve – UNSW, Pierre Verlinden, Trina Solar
- on YouTube – Michael Liebreich, "Cheapest Solar in World", about the record-low 5.84 US cents/kWh PPA in Dubai (2014)