Photovoltaics in the world in 2010

Photovoltaic market in 2010 recorded an impressive growth. European Photovoltaic Industry Association (European Photovoltaic Industry Assosation) estimates that growth was up to 100% comparing to 2009. Cumulative PV power in the world has already exceeded 40 GW, an amount greater than the capacity of the entire Polish energy system.

The data show that between 14.3 and 16.5 GW were installed during the last year, of which the majority was installed in European countries. For many years Germany is the clear leader. Nothing changed in 2010, in which Germany installed about 7 000 MW. A good second place gained Italy with the capacity over 300 MW. Another countries leading in the photovoltaics development are: Czech Republic (1 300 MW), France (500 MW), Spain (400 MW), Belgium (250mW), Greece (200 MW). The rest of the EU market for photovoltaics is at a crossroads. Several countries such as Austria, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Slovenia recorded a small but the growth of installed capacity, while other countries have not changed their situation in this area. Outside Europe, the leader is Japan, which has installed about 1 000 MW in 2010, and traditionally United States (800 MW) and China (400 MW).

It should be noted that the high growth of photovoltaic installations in many countries, including in particular the Czech Republic, was due to the implemented intensive level of support there. The government has provided support to photovoltaic energy by guaranteeing to purchase electricity at a price 1.8 zł / kWh, which made this country one of the leaders in solar energy during the few years. Now, it is even taken into consideration to put some limitation to this support, to protect the Czech system from situation of unsustainable development of renewable energy. This situation appeared in Spain, causing that the market was developing less dynamic, than was originally projected.

Steadily falling prices of PV installation had also a significant influence to existing high growth of PV market. It is estimated that the average retail price of photovoltaic panels in 2010 fell down about 18%. This trend is also very important for countries such as Poland, which still lacks support from the state for the development of photovoltaic energy. Consequently, this causes the reluctance of investors to this type of investment, because it involves a very long payback period, which is reaping real benefits from it.