The global solar photovoltaic market recorded approximately 6.4 GW of installed capacity in 2009 to reach a totalcapacity of over 20 GW, according to a new report from the EuropeanPhotovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).
This year, globalcumulative installed PV capacity is expected to grow by at least 40%,while annual growth is expected to increase by more than 15%. During 2009, Germany remained the largest market. Italy ranked second, andJapan and the U.S. ranked third and fourth, respectively. Germany isexpected to remain the largest market in 2010, although feed-in-tariffreductions will significantly affect the development of the country’ssolar market in the long term.
Meanwhile, new markets in southern Europe, Asia and the U.S. will grow significantly this year, EPIA says. Italy has become one of the most promising markets, with an additionalcapacity of 700 MW in 2009. In addition to strong solar resources, thecountry’s new Conto Energia, which is expected to be announced thisspring, will continue to support the strong momentum of the Italianmarket.
The Czech Republic showed notable growth in 2009, with411 MW installed, but due to overly generous support schemes, the market is expected to shrink significantly in 2011 after another year ofstrong growth in 2010, according to EPIA’s report.
"Thisunderlines the imperative need for support mechanisms to be designed in a way to ensure a long-term, predictable and sustainable development ofthe market and avoid instability and discontinuity in market evolution," explains Adel El Gammal, secretary general of EPIA.
In 2009,Belgium entered the top 10 PV markets, with 292 MW installed. However,due to a revision of the financial support scheme early this year, thismarket is expected to slow down slightly this year.
Francefollows in the rankings, with 185 MW installed in 2009 – and anadditional 100 MW installed but not yet connected to the grid. Thisdisparity demonstrates the urgency for France to solve itsgrid-connection issues in order to allow the market to develop, EPIAsays.
In Spain, the introduction of a market cap in 2008,combined with the effects of the financial crisis, constrained themarket to only about 60 MW installed in 2009. However, PV accounted forabout 3% of the electricity production in the country in 2009.
Finally, Greece, Portugal and the U.K. are showing strong potential for growththis year and beyond. In addition, Japan had 484 MW installed in 2009and demonstrates significant growth potential due to favorable political support.
The U.S. market finally took off significantly in 2009, with around 475 MW installed, and appears to be a potential leadingmarket in the coming years, the report adds. China and India are alsoexpected to boom in the next five years, with an impressive number of PV projects in the pipeline.
Finally, Canada and Australia showedsignificant market development in 2009, EPIA says. Brazil, Mexico,Morocco and South Africa have also proven to be promising countries forPV.