Friday, May 07, 2010

23GW Solar Installed Worldwide (Total Capacity)

According to the European PV authority's market outlook, the amount of solar installed worldwide more than doubled over the past two years to reach 23 Gigawatts in 2009.
That is especially remarkable when you realize that annual capacity installations only topped 1GW/yr in 2004.

Even more eye-catching, the europeans are projecting installed worldwide capacity to grow by 50GW or 100GW by 2014. The range depends on the level of support provided to solar: a moderate support (similar to existing incentive conditions = +10GW/yr) and a more aggressive support (stronger FIT in Europe and other countries also adopt strong FIT = +20GW/yr).
Taking the midpoint of those projections (plus what we already have) means the world could have 100GW of solar installed by 2015!

To date the total US installed capacity is ~1.7 GW or 7% of the world total. Recent reports from the California Solar Initiative indicate that solar is being installed at nearly twice the rate of last year. Assuming CA is representative of the rest of the country, the US would be on pace to install ~1GW in 2010 (assuming more installs in the 2nd half).

The turmoil in the currency markets because of Greece may benefit Germany's solar manufacturers if the Euro stays down (or decreases further!) for an extended period of time. 10%+ currency moves will certainly impact the solar market. It will put an additional squeeze on Asian (and US) panel manufacturers, even as they are trying to deal with the mid-year decrease in the German FIT.

About 5 years ago installed solar cost $9 per watt (+/- $1). Today installed solar is in the $7 per watt range and falling. $5/watt installed (for utility scale applications at least) should be possible later this year. Interesting things will begin to occur as installed solar costs hit various milestones below $5/watt.


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