Solar PV reaches 500 GW installed

18 April 2019

The International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power System Programme (IEA PVPS) has published its new ‘Snapshot of Global Photovoltaic Markets 2018’ which shows that at the end of 2018, PV installations for the first time reached the landmark of 500 GW total capacity

Preliminary market numbers show that the PV market probably stabilised in 2018. In total, about 97’9 GW of PV capacity was installed in the IEA PVPS countries and in other major markets during 2018, and up to 99.8 GW in total (compared to 98.9 GW in 2017). The total installed capacity in the IEA PVPS countries and key markets exceeded the 500 GW mark in 2018. These are the main findings of the latest IEA PVPS Snapshot, published on 15 April.

While the Chinese PV market experienced a limited decline in 2018 to 45 GW, it was compensated with larger installation volumes in several emerging and established markets. Amongst the growing markets, India can be cited, with 10,8 GW, Australia, that increased spectacularly in 2018, with close to 3.8 GW, Mexico follows with close to 2.7 GW, then Korea with 2.0 GW, followed by a declining Turkish market, above 1.6 GW. The Middle East and African markets experienced growth as well, however a large part of this will be visible in 2019 when most plants will be commissioned, especially in the UAE and Egypt. In the meantime, the US and Japanese market where roughly stable, while Europe grew. The European market rebirth was mainly driven by the significant growth in Germany and the Netherlands, while growth was visible in many countries.

In summary, the global PV market outside of China grew by 9 GW to 55 GW while the decline in China drove the global numbers up to at least 99.8 GW. This growth outside of China composes a different landscape for the PV market, with a 20% growth outside of China.

In total, the PV contribution amounts to close to 2.6% of the world’s electricity demand. In the coming years, PV has the potential to become a major source of electricity at an extremely rapid pace in several countries around the world. The speed of its development stems from its unique ability to cover most market segments; from the very small individual systems for rural electrification to utility-size power plants – today way over 1 GWp. From the built environment to large ground-mounted installations, PV finds its way, depending on various criteria that makes it suitable for most environments. In 2018, PV was the first electricity source in capacity deployed globally. It follows a rapid growth path, which might be supported in the coming years by two key enablers: the decrease of battery prices and the rapid uptake of electric vehicles.

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