World’s Photovoltaic Capacity Passes 100-GW Landmark


Façana Fotovoltaica al MNACTEC Terrassa, Spain. Photo: Chixoy

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) reports that the world’s cumulative photovoltaic (PV) electricity capacity surpassed 100 gigawatts (GW) in 2012, achieving just over 101 GW. Solar electricity production equaled that of 16 coal power plants or nuclear reactors of 1 GW each, and reduced CO2 emissions by 53 million tons for the year.

Preliminary figures suggest that about 30 GW of new PV capacity was made operational in 2012.That figure could be increased by an additional 1 or 2 GW when final numbers are published in May, in EPIA’s annual “Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013-2017.”

The year showed a shift toward a more global PV market, with 13 GW installed outside of Europe (compared to just under 8 GW in 2011) and nearly 17 GW in Europe (compared to nearly 23 GW in 2011). The top three European PV markets in 2012 were Germany (with 7.6 GW), Italy (3.3 GW) and France (1.2 GW). The top three non-European markets were China (with at least 3.5 GW and possibly as much as 4.5 GW), the United States (3.2 GW) and Japan (2.5 GW).

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