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GSR 2015 - Solar PV

58 02 MARKET AND INDUSTRY TRENDS SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAICS (PV) ■■ SOLAR PV MARKETS The year 2014 marked the 60th anniversary of the first public demonstration of a solar PV cell.1 It also marked another record year for growth, with about 40 GW of capacity added, for a global total of about 177 GW.i 2 The strong market in 2014 came despite the substantial decline in new installations in the European Union, challenges reaching targets (particularly for distributed systems) in China, and slower-than-expected emergence of promising new markets.3 More than 60% of all PV capacity in operation worldwide at the end of 2014 was added over the past three years.4 (RSee Figure 16 and Reference Table R7.) Once again, the top three markets were China, Japan, and the United States, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany. Others in the top 10 for additions were France, Australia, South Korea, South Africa, and India.5 Five countries added more than 1 GW of solar PV to their grids in 2014, down from nine countries in 2013.6 While the vast majority of capacity was added in a handful of countries, the distribution of new installations continued to broaden, and plans for deployment are rising rapidly as prices fall.7 All countries in the world have some solar PV in operation.8 By the end of the year, 20 countries had at least 1 GW of capacity (up from 17 countries in 2013).9 The leaders for solar PV per inhabitant were Germany, Italy, Belgium, Greece, the Czech Republic, and Japan.10 Asia eclipsed all other markets, accounting for almost 60% of global additions.11 China increased its cumulative capacity by 60%, adding a reported 10.6 GW for a total exceeding 28 GW.12 (p See Figure 17.) Over 80% of China’s new capacity was in large-scale power plants, and the remainder was in distributed rooftop systems and other installations for small-scale use.13 Transmission infrastructure has not kept up with the rapid growth in capacity, leaving solar farms in sunny western regions without infrastructure to transmit power to demand centres in the south and east.14 In 2014, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, and the coastal province of Jiangsu were at the forefront of additions, each installing more than 1 GW.15 Although the market grew quickly, China struggled to meet self-imposed targets, particularly for distributed installations.16 China generated about 25 billion kWh of electricity with solar PV in 2014, an increase of more than 200% over 2013.17 Japan’s market continued its rapid expansion in 2014, with an estimated 9.7 GW added to the grid, raising total capacity to 23.3 GW.18 Despite the record growth, the residential market saw its first decline since 2007, with 0.9 GW added for a total of 7.5 GW.19 Commercial and utility-scale projects drove demand for the second consecutive year, and Japan saw a rapid expansion in the number of companies (including restaurants and home builders) registering to sell retail power.20 Constraints limiting grid connections and difficulties finding suitable land are leading developers to use industrial parks, empty lots, and rooftops.21 In late 2014, due to concerns about their ability to absorb additional variable power, four utilities in Japan suspended new grid connections for solar PV projects.22 The government responded by setting capacity limits for new grid connections; further changes made to Japan’s FIT allow utilities to ask producers of solar power to reduce output once the capacity of the utilities’ grid reaches its peak for variable electricity, and they remove the utilities’ obligation to compensate these producers.23 In January 2015, the four utilities resumed grid connections under the new rules (which did not yet apply to three major utilities, including TEPCO).24 i - Note that global additions and year-end capacity in 2013 were lower than reported in GSR 2014 because official Chinese numbers for 2013 additions were revised downwards after publication by about 2 GW (from 12.92 GW to 10.95 GW), for a year-end total of 17.45 GW, per China’s National Energy Board, cited in National Energy Administration (NEA), “2014 PV Statistics,” 9 March 2015, http://www.nea.gov.cn/2015-03/09/c_134049519.htm (using Google Translate).

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