Photovoltaics in the world

Photovoltaics in the world is developing very intensively. The global market has increased from less than 1 GW in 2003 to more than 7.2 GW in 2009, despite the financial and economic difficulties. Particularly strong growth for 15% was noticed in late 2008 and 2009.

The rapid development of photovoltaics in the world is mainly the merit of EU countries, especially of Germany. 3.8 GW of installed capacity in Germany is about 52% of the total world market for photovoltaics. Though the rest of the installed capacity does not exceed 1 GW, a clear, double-digit growth compared to 2008, is worth noticing. This applies particularly to Italy, France, Czech Republic, Belgium. The largest growth, among non-European countries, is observed in Japan, the United States, Canada and Australia. Only the southern European countries such as Spain (noting the decline in PV), and Portugal and Greece (abstaining from investments) slow down the increase in PV, what however result from the financial difficulties of those countries. It is expected that after the stabilization of global financial markets and improvement of the situation in these countries, they would use huge existing potential in the construction of photovoltaic power plants.

The main reason of the installed capacity increase in recent years is the emergence of PV systems with significantly increased capacity, which in turn leads to a marked increase of the profitability of such investments. The largest PV systems in Europe are:

Despite some difficulties also the market for non-networked systems is developing. The largest use of PV in this area will be observed in professional applications, such as telecommunications infrastructure, street lighting, phone chargers, terminals along highways, parking meters, etc.

Current market shares of PV in the world in figures is as follows:

World 7,2 GW
UE 5605 MW
Japan 484 MW
USA 477 MW
South Korea 168 MW
China 160 MW
Canada 70 MW
Australia 66 MW
India 30 MW
Rest of the world 143 MW
UE 5,6 GW
Germany 3806 MW
Italy 711 MW
Czech Republic 411 MW
Belgium 292 MW
France 185 MW
Spain 69 MW
Greece 36 MW
Prtugal 32 MW
Rest of the Europe 63 MW


Forecasts PV market development in the world [according to the report "SET for 2020" (, developed at the request of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA)], include two scenarios:

  1. Moderate scenario - based on the assumption of "normal" behavior of the market, with no major reinforcement of existing support mechanisms. In this case, photovoltaics may (provided that certain conditions are fulfilled) provide up to 12% of electricity demand in the European Union by 2020 and to be competitive with other sources of electricity (even in the absence of any form of external grants and subsidies) with a view to meet the 20% demand by 2030 and 30% by 2050. According to this scenario, the European market may grow to 8.2 GW in 2010, then fall to less than 6 GW in 2011 and 8 GW in 2014, while world market may reach 13.7 GW by 2014.
  2. Policy driven scenario – assuming the introduction of support mechanisms, namely fixed tariffs (feed-in-tariff), supported by strong political will to consider photovoltaics as the main source of electricity in the coming years. This scenario must be accompanied by the removal of unnecessary administrative barriers and improving procedures for connecting to the network. In this scenario 11.5 GW may be installed in the European market in 2010 and to 13.5 GW in 2014, after slowing in 2011 and 2012, while the global market could reach an annual value of 30 GW .