Solar PV & Its Global Demand By Country

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Originally published on RenewEconomy.

This graph, from a recent presentation from Canadian Solar, the world’s third biggest solar PV module manufacturer, gives a fascinating insight into the changing shape of global demand for solar – not just it’s massive growth, but also its geographical shift.

In 2011, for instance, Italy was the largest market for solar PV in the world, followed by Germany. Together they accounted for more than 60 per cent of global demand, thanks to their favourable feed in tariffs at the tim.

The next year, demand from the world’s three biggest economies awoke. In 2014, China, Japan, and the US will be the world’s three biggest markets, showing compound growth rates since 2009 of between 69 per cent and 165 per cent in the case of China.

Demand in both China and Japan is being supported by feed-in-tariffs, and the rate in China is expected to increase to ensure that demand is met. In Japan, the FiT has been set at 36 yen ($US0.38)/kWh, while in the US solar is supported by tax credits, net metering, and power purchase agreements set by an auctioning process for large utility-scale projects.

canadian global demand

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Giles Parkinson

is the founding editor of, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.

Giles Parkinson has 596 posts and counting. See all posts by Giles Parkinson

8 thoughts on “Solar PV & Its Global Demand By Country

  • The only country whose policy looks risky is Japan, with a deliberately sky-high FIT to jump-start an installation boom, and a consequential risk of policy reversal and policy-induced slump. The Chinese FITs range from 0.95 – 1.4 RMB/kwh (15 – 23 $c), depending on installation type and region. They are still substantially higher than retail (8c/kwh average), but look affordable. The US patchwork of incentives limits the downside policy risk.

    There’s no real case any more for treating Italy and Germany separately. They are now back in the EU “peloton”. The leading EU country at the moment is the UK.

    • Japan could switch to a net metering system and it would still be very attractive given their electricity prices.

  • The USA needs to grow in solar PV. We have GREAT solar resources and it makes sense to install solar PV on houses pretty much everywhere in the country.

  • A doubling every 2 years.

  • Are China and the rest of the world reversed in the graph? Didn’t China do 10GW in 2013? I guess China is on he bottom, not the top…

  • Looks like from 2012-“for a little while” could plot China, Japan, USA, EU, then split ROW int (Americas, Africa/ME, Asia, Pacific/other). It is a little hard to guess who might jump out next. India (1,1,2) if 4 and then 8; they could be on their own.

    • “While the increase in yearly installs would be nicer at 100% being in the 30%-50% range is still good news.”

      30-50% on a yearly basis already is neck-breaking expansion of anything in the supply chain.. do you have any idea what would be needed to get a 100% on a yearly basis? This is not war..

  • Many countries have started phasing out the subsidies for fossil fuels. Along with that the subsidies for Renewable energy will also be phased out just like US phased out the Ethanol subsidy.

    But with every passing year, the price of fossil fuels will keep increasing, but that of Renewable will decline. The point at which both meets, Renewable energy will start growing faster.

    That day is just few years from now.

    Even Saudi Arabia is planning to replace Oil fired power generation with Solar.

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