Solar PV continues its upward trend

5 May 2020

The IEA solar section, PVPS, published its latest ‘Snapshot’ report on 29 April. This serves as a preliminary assessment prior to the 25th edition of the PVPS flagship report “Trends in PV Applications” that will be published at the end of the year. This report provides estimated data about photovoltaic capacity in the countries reporting to the IEA PVPS Programme and additional key markets. At least 627 GW of PV are now installed worldwide, as 115 GW of PV were installed globally in 2019.

After a year of market stabilisation, preliminary reported market data shows a 2019 global annual PV market at a higher level than 2018 and 2017. At least 114.9 GW of PV systems were installed and commissioned in the world last year. The total cumulative installed capacity for PV at the end of 2019 reached at least 627 GW.

In 2019, the PV market broke the 100 GW threshold for the third time in a row and the market grew with 12% YoY. The year of stabilisation is explained by the significant market increase in all continents, which global effect has been partially hidden by the slowdown in China, the world market leader in PV installations (30.1 GW). 

The European Union as a whole reached second place (16 GW, with Spain and Germany in the top 10 countries) followed by the United States of America (13.3 GW). Then Japan (7 GW), Vietnam (4.8 GW), Australia (3.7 GW), Ukraine (3.5 GW) and Korea (3.1 GW). 

In total, PV contribution amounts to close to 3.0% of the electricity demand in the world. The contribution of PV to decarbonising the energy mix is progressing, with PV saving as much as 720 million tons of CO2 equivalent based on the installed capacity at the end of 2019. PV contributes to reducing global CO2 emissions by 1.7% or 2.2% of the energy-related emissions and 5.3% of the electricity related emissions. Much remains to be done to achieve full decarbonisation, and PV deployment would have to increase by at least one order of magnitude to cope with the targets defined during the COP21 in Paris.

In the coming years, PV has the potential to become a major source of electricity at an extremely rapid pace in several countries all over the world. The speed of its development stems from its unique ability to cover most market segments; from very small household systems to utility-size power plants (today well over 1 GWp). PV follows a rapid growth path, which might be supported in the coming years by two key enablers: the decrease of battery prices, the rapid uptake of electric vehicles and the emergence of commercial green hydrogen production plants. 



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