Photovoltaics: Dream growth rate of 152 per cent
If only all branches of industry were doing so well. In 2008, the European solar industry experienced record growth: the installed capacity was almost doubled. But here as well, there are signs of a significant economic downturn in 2009.
In 2008, 4592 new megawatt peak (MWp) photovoltaic power stations were installed in the European Union. This was announced by the French EurObserv’ER consortium in its latest "Photovoltaic Barometer" publication. This means a growth of 152 per cent in terms of newly installed capacity (1853 MWp) compared to 2007. With 80% of all installed capacity, Europe also leads the world in the market for photovoltaics. The total capacity of the EU amounted to 9533.3 MWp at the end of 2008.
Within Europe, Germany and Spain continue to set the pace when it comes to expanding the use of photovoltaic energy, whereby Spain more than quadrupled its overall capacity in 2008 alone due to its newly installed 2671 MWp. At 75.19 Wp, the country now has the highest installed capacity per inhabitant, followed by Germany. Experts, however, ascribe a bring-forward effect to the Spanish "power output explosion". At the beginning of October in 2008, the grid-infeed prices were lowered by an average of one quarter in the Mediterranean country. In the first nine months of the year, there was therefore a run on investments in PV plants.
Irrespective of the grid-infeed prices, the solar boom in Europe will probably experience a slow-down in 2009. Experts are nearly unanimous in expecting a considerable decrease in growth figures due to the general economic situation.
Photovoltaics in the European Union
Total installed power at the end of 2008:
1. Germany 5351 MWp
2. Spain 3405 MWp
3. Italy 318 MWp
EU 27 total: 9533 MWp
New installed power in 2008:
1. Spain 2671 MWp
2. Germany 1505 MWp
3. Italy 197 MWp
EU 27 total: 4592 MWp
Installed power per inhabitant:
1. Spain 75.19 Wp
2. Germany 65.08 Wp
3. Luxembourg 50.46 Wp
EU 27 on average: 19.16 Wp
to the EurObserv’ER website with free download of the Photovoltaic Barometer