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.”
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.