Solar power passes 1 percent of global electricity threshold

Solar power now covers more than 1 percent of global electricity demand. In three countries in Europe, Italy, Germany and Greece, solar photovoltaics (PV) supplies more than 7% of electricity demand. This is reported by Solar Power Europe (previously EPIA, European Photovoltaic Industry Association).
China is the fastest growing market. Research company GlobalData has adjusted projected new capacity in China for 2015 upwards. Last year 40 GW of new solar capacity was installed worldwide, compared to 38.4 GW in 2013, notes Solar Power Europe (SPE) in its Global Market Outlook 2015-2019.
Cumulative capacity is now 178 GW. In terms of generation, this is equivalent to 33 coal-fired power stations of 1 GW, notes SPE. In Europe last year 7 GW was installed, which was less than in 2013. The UK was the fastest growing market, contributing 2.4 GW. Europe now installs less solar power capacity than China or Japan individually, but still more than the US. However, Europe is still the world’s largest playher with more than 88 GW installed at the end of 2014.
China is currently the fastest growing market, installing 10.6 GW in 2014, followed by Japan with 9.7 GW and the US with just over 6.5 GW. SPE says capacity could reach 540 GW in five years’ time in a high-growth scenario and would reach 396 GW in a “low-support” case.
The cost of PV systems continued to decline in 2014, notes SPE. “System prices below €1/wp are now common in several European countries, while prices around $1/wp have been reported in the most competitive tenders. This has been achieved thanks to the declining prices of modules – except in Europe where the minimum import price on modules from China has maintained prices at a higher than market level – and inverters, combined with economies of scale that brought installation costs down much faster than many expected.”