Clean Power

Published on June 6th, 2014 | by Joshua S Hill


Global Solar PV Demand Passes 150 GW

June 6th, 2014 by  

Like an inexorable tide, the global solar PV industry continues to grow from strength to strength, pushing past the cumulative total of 150 GW of solar PV installed by the middle of 2014.

Writing on behalf of NPD Solarbuzz, senior analyst Michael Barker notes that the solar PV industry has “steadily grown over the past several years, increasing from an installed base of only 5 GW in 2005 to almost 200 GW forecast by the end of 2014.”

Global Solar PV Demand

Source: Adapted from NPD Solarbuzz Quarterly, June 2014

The figures come from the latest Solarbuzz Quarterly published in June, coming hot on the heels of figures showing European solar PV demand dropping for the third consecutive year, and estimates suggesting the US solar PV industry could reach 20 GW by the end of the year.

Europe accounted for a large share of the early growth, but as political uncertainty in the European Union countries has increased, and production in second- and third-world countries has made solar PV a more achievable and affordable prospect for more countries, the focus has slipped away from the European behemoths.

“The last few years have seen steadily declining demand shares in Europe however,” writes Barker, “and in 2014 annual European demand is forecast to account for less than 25% of global demand while demand from the major Asian countries (China, India, Australia, Thailand, and Japan) is projected to account for over half of worldwide solar PV demand (up from 10% demand share in 2010).”

One of the major growth centres for solar PV is expected to be the Middle East & Africa region (MEA), with an expected year-on-year growth of as high as 50%. If all regions that are expecting to see major growth — North America, MEA, and Asia — then it is entirely possible we might see global solar demand surpass the 200 GW mark by the time we exit 2014.

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

  • Wayne Williamson

    Please don’t mix units on a graph, Its very deceiving. It starts of as 1 tick per year for 2005-2009, then switched to 4 ticks per year.
    On reviewing the graph and my statements, I just realized the the graph would be pretty much a vertical line by now if each tick was a year. Go Solar!

    • Bob_Wallace

      How about this version? (You’ll have to imagine the 2014 data point. It’s way up there.)

      • Wayne Williamson

        Yup, just imagine the 2014 at 200GW. nice!

        • Wayne Williamson

          Oh yeah, just looking at this trend, its no wonder that Warren Buffet is investing in it to…

        • Bob_Wallace


          • Wayne Williamson

            Thanks Bob!

  • The title is inaccurate, mixing up annual installations and cumulative installed capacity. 150 GW of demand means 150 GW per year, since ‘demand’ always refers to the current situation, not what happened in the past.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Capacity would be a better word.

      • Matt

        Yes, headline have gone to ### on this site. Don’t need Enquirer style headline. How about “Solar panels doubles sex drive in ladies aged 20-80, please install more”

        • Ronald Brakels

          Mistakes have been made, however I am sure this will be rectified. Indeed it is, beyond question, at the appropriate juncture, in due course, in the fullness of time, that appropriate measures will be taken to retify the situation and come to an accord that all parties can agree to.

  • anderlan

    Toward 1TeraWatt! Sadly, we need to be at 200GW installed PER YEAR to make a serious dent against Business-As-Usual climate predictions. We are only at 30GW per year.

    • JamesWimberley

      Remember the fable of the king, the scholar and the chess board (link). Compound growth meets any target in time. Another way to look at it is this: from 150GW today, we are only three doublings away from 1.2 terawatts. To reach those 150 GW from the first watt in Bell Labs in 1954, pv has needed 37 doublings.

      Many analysts just can’t believe in the historic growth rate and learning curve of pv solar, and fudge their predictions downward to be thought Serious. Solarbuzz are unusual in believing that the best guide to the future is the past; but I think they are right.

      You need a reason to think that the growth rate will slow down before it meets all demand (OK, all midday demand): some technical barrier, or exhaustion of a critical raw material, or limit on deployable space. On the whole we can rule out social and political barriers as ineffective in the medium run – the old vested interests put up a fight against the winning new technology, but always lose.

      • Senlac

        Well said, full speed ahead and dam the torpedos. As solar becomes more efficient, and can be made with more materials, it approaches becoming as ubiquitous in our technological landscape as computers have.

      • tibi stibi

        you can also take into account that the current yearly produced sollar cells is the minimum for the next years. the factory’s will not go to a stand still because than they will lose money. they will need to produce and will lower their prices if needed.

        that is the difference between building 1 coal factory which will produce the same every year and building a solar pannel factory which will add solar pannels every year!

    • jburt56

      Worldwide the actual figure of yearly installation in 5 TW.

      • anderlan

        I was reading the charts in the article for my numbers (plus my numbers and the charts jive generally with what I’ve read in other places as I’ve tracked this over the last few years). Where are you getting 5TW?

        • jburt56

          World power consumption currently is about 20 TW but it takes 5 Watts of peak solar to yield an average 1
          Watt of power. Assuming a solar world that implies 100 TW of total installation or about 20 years of production and installation at the 5 TWp per year level.

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