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Clean Power China, Japan and the US were, predictably, the three largest markets in 2013.
Image Credit: First Solar

Published on March 18th, 2014 | by James Ayre

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37 GW Of Solar Capacity Installed Worldwide In 2013

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March 18th, 2014 by  

Over 37 GW worth of solar capacity was installed worldwide during 2013, according to recent figures from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).

Those figures exceed the prediction made by NPD Solarbuzz of 36 GW to be installed in 2013 by only 1 GW. The relative accuracy of NPD Solarbuzz’s predictions bodes well for the solar industry in 2014, as the organization is predicting a bring jump — up to 49 GW.

China, Japan and the US were, predictably, the three largest markets in 2013. Image Credit: First Solar

China, Japan and the US were, predictably, the three largest markets in 2013. Image Credit: First Solar

With regard to 2013, of the 37 GW, a substantial percentage was from China — 11.3 GW worth. While Japan installed 6.9 GW and the US installed 4.8 GW. The European figures were less impressive — with Germany only installing 3.3 GW (as compared to 7.6 GW in 2012), and France only installing 613 MW (as compared to 1.1 GW in 2012).

However, other European countries were up, such as:

Greece — 1.04 GW
Italy — 1.1–1.4 GW
UK — 1–1.2 GW
Romania — 1.1 GW

But the situation isn’t so rosy everywhere. Spain was particularly notorious for harsh retrospective cuts. “In a number of European countries, harsh support reduction, retrospective measures and unplanned changes to regulatory frameworks that badly affect investors’ confidence and PV investments viability have led to a significant market decrease,” stated Gaëtan Masson, head of business intelligence, EPIA.

As stated previously, though, growth in the industry is expected to be quite strong next year — it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the European market in 2014

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • jose nieves

    In my figures I made a mistake saying, 4 homes per KW, The correct statement should be 4 kw per home. Sorry…

    • Ronald Brakels

      Australian households average a bit under two thirds of a kilowatt and we’re one of the more prolifigate nations around, so four homes per kilowatt seemed a bit low to me, but sufficient to lead a comfortable modern lifestyle using energy efficient methods. Including electricity used for commercial and industrial purposes roughly doubles the figure for Australia, but four kilowatts per household is way too much. If we electrified our transport it would bump it up, but it still wouldn’t be four thanks to electricity’s high efficiency.

  • jose nieves

    37 GW of solar power is enough to provide energy for 9,250,000 homes assuming 4 homes per KW. This will translate into a huge reduction of oil,coal and gas used. Considering using a 250 W solar panel,as scale model, there were a total of 148 million solar panels used. If the price is $2 a watt installed, then $74 billion dollars were involved worldwide. This is way cheaper than the $1 trillion dollar spent by the US in the Iraq war. The best part of this accomplishment is that this year these same people can continue generating 37 GW of power free of charge. One time only investment. `you cannot say the same thing using fossil fuels.

    • http://renzoslabar.blogspot.it/ Renzo_Riva

      The PV is useless and expensive.
      You try to ask him/it to the German with the PV that you/they must pay to furnish the electric energy to the net in certain schedules.
      37 GW is the power that can furnish at the most and in summer, an energy of 120 GWh, in a day of sun and solo within some times.
      The term power (GW) doesn’t confuse him with the term energy (GWh).

      • Bob_Wallace

        No, Renzo.

        Solar is neither expensive or useless.

        Solar in the US has dropped to about 6 cents per kWh (no subsidies included) in best places. Some of the world including the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and China are installing solar for less the cost in the US.
        Solar contributes during hours of highest demand, when electricity is more desired, which makes it useful and more valuable.

        Solar does not produce electricity 24/365 but, then, no other technology produces electricity 24/365. The grid requires a mix of inputs along with storage.

  • JamesWimberley

    Wasn’t Solarbuzz at the high end of the range of expert predictions during the year? They are measuring installations, not connections – the gap can be large, as in China.

    Repeating myself, it should be remembered that as the global market grows and diversifies, the statistics will get less reliable. We are moving from suburban rooftops and utility farms in Germany, registered instantly on a central database to get a uniform FIT, to off-grid installations in say Indonesia, of which the only trace will be in the manufacturer’s sales records. Even in the rich US, federalism means that data on distributed solar are poor and late.

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