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EPIC report reveals record PV industry

The dynamics of the market may be changing but the growth of the photovoltaic (PV) industry in 2011 reached record levels according to a new EPIC report

EPIC, the European Photonics Industry Consortium, announced they have released their most recent report on the global PV market which they release to their membership. The report’s provides a quick snapshot of the successes of the global industry as a whole. Europe remained the powerhouse of the PV industry but the statistics reveal the distribution of global PV is changing with Asian interests expanding in both production and installation. Germany accounted for almost a third of last years installed total.

 Photovoltaic industry revenues reached a record $US 93 billion in 2011, a 13.4% increase over $US 82 billion in 2010, and a 150% increase over revenues in 2009. World-wide, 27.4 Gwatts of PV were installed, bringing cumulative PV electrical generation capacity to 68 Gwatts at the end of 2011. Our data show that installations grew by 56% compared to 2010. Europe remains the leader for deployment, accounting for more than 63% of the PV installations world-wide. About 27% of all the installations world-wide took place in Germany. These percentage figures are lower than those for 2010, and they indicate the growing importance of PV markets outside of Europe, and in particular in China.

 In Europe, 41 Gwatts of electrical generation capacity from all sources were installed in 2011. This can be compared to 57.6 Gwatts in 2010. This decrease is due in part to the economic recession which strengthened in Europe throughout the year. For the first time ever, more PV generating power was installed in Europe than any other energy source, surpassing both natural gas and wind turbine generation. New Eu PV at 17.3 Gwatts out-paced natural gas installations by 58%. However on a world-wide basis, wind power remains the dominant new renewable energy source with installations of over 40 Gwatts in 2011. By 2011, the cumulative installed PV generating base reached 68 Gwatts. By comparison, this represents about 28% of the installed wind base of 238 Gwatts.

 In terms of production, 7.6% more wattage of PV cells was manufactured than generating capacity installed (29.5 Gwatts compared to 27.4 Gwatts). Inventories at the end of 2011 amounted to less than 1 month. Our figure of merit, (the ratio of total sector revenues to installed PV generation capacity) for 2011 improved significantly to US$3.53 per watt by 24% compared to US$4.6 per watt in 2010. PV production volume is now dominated by manufacturing in Asia where China and Taiwan now account for about 74% of the world supply. Production by European companies declined sharply in 2011 to less that 6% of the global total.  Because many of the remaining companies manufacture some of their products in Asia, the actual amount of manufacturing activity in Europe is even less significant.

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