Total Installed Solar PV Reaches 228 GW In 2015, According To IEA

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2015 was a good year for the solar photovoltaic industry, which experienced renewed growth and delivered about 50.7 GW of new solar PV capacity, raising the global total installed capacity to more than 228 GW.

These are the key results from a new report published by the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (PVPS), its 21st Trends in Photovoltaic Applications report, published in late October. Specifically, the report identifies about 50.7 GW of new solar PV capacity commissioned in the IEA PVPS countries and other major markets throughout 2015. Subsequently, global installed solar PV capacity rose to at least 228 GW, and now accounts for more than 1.2% of electricity demand.

The report is based on information from 24 IEA PVPS countries, with data that is more reliable than the remaining non-PVPS countries. In 2015, IEA PVPS countries installed at least 40.6 GW of new solar PV capacity, while non-PVPS countries are believed to have contributed around 10 GW. This is good news, considering that it represents a 26.5% increase over the growth experienced in the immediately preceding years.

Evolution of PV Installations (GW)


China was again in first place, as it was in 2013 and 2014, installing 15.15 GW of new solar PV capacity in 2015, according to the country’s own National Energy Administration. China had installed a then-record 10 GW in both 2013 and 2014, but its political will to deliver more and more clean energy is having an immediate impact on the country’s actual clean energy capacity additions.

Evolution of Annual PV Installations (GW)


China’s total installed solar PV capacity now rests at 43.5 GW, bringing the country into a global first place, overtaking Germany for the first time.

Cumulative PV Capacity End 2015


Asia as a whole region led the way for the third year in a row, thanks obviously in part to China’s leading additions, but also thanks to an impressive 10.8 GW added by Japan. They were followed by the United States, which installed 7.3 GW in 2015, and the UK, which installed 4.1 GW. India pushed into the top five for the first time, installing 2.1 GW.

Global PV Market In 2015


The report highlighted several key trends from 2015 in the solar PV industry. First among these was the dominant role of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT), helping to drive the development of 60% of PV installations in 2015. The share of new business models — including competitive Power Purchase Agreements, tendered FiTs, and self-consumption-driven installations — remained still at 22%. Emerging markets saw bids for utility-scale solar PV reach a record low of below $30 per MWh, dividing that number by a factor of 2 in less than two years.

Another key trend was the role in the overall electricity mix solar is now playing. In at least 33 countries, solar PV is now contributing at least 1% to annual electricity demand, with Honduras sitting atop the table, with solar accounting for 12% of demand, followed by Italy and Germany with around 8%, and Greece around 7%.

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Joshua S Hill

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