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Europe is leader in PV solar cell deployment

Germany remains top of the list with and accounts for more than 63% of the PV installations worldwide. Having said that, PV production volume is now dominated by manufacturing in Asia where China and Taiwan now account for about 74% of the world supply

Photovoltaic (PV) industry revenues reached a record $US 93 billion in 2011, a 13.4% increase over $US 82 billion in 2010, and a 150% increase over revenues in 2009.

Materials currently used for photovoltaics include monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous silicon, CdTe, CIGS (where S stands for diselenide or sulphide) and multijunction III-V compound semiconductors. Silicon is now being overtaken by the other materials due to efficiency issues, with III-Vs leading the way due to their extraordinarily high efficiency of around 40%. The main thing however, that hinders their deployment is the expense involved.

According to EPIC’s Photovoltaic Industry Report, globally, 27.4 GW of PV were installed, bringing cumulative PV electrical generation capacity to 68 GW at the end of 2011. installations grew by 56% compared to 2010.

Europe remains the leader for deployment, accounting for more than 63% of the PV installations worldwide. About 27% of all the installations world-wide took place in Germany. These percentage figures are lower than those for 2010, and they indicate the growing importance of PV markets outside of Europe, and in particular in China.

Worldwide, 68 GW cumulative were installed by the end of 2011. PV capacity is now 28% as large as the park of wind turbines.

In Europe, 41 GW of electrical generation capacity from all sources were installed in 2011, as compared to 57.6 GW in 2010. This decrease is due in part to the economic recession which strengthened in Europe throughout the year. For the first time ever, more PV generating power was installed in Europe than any other energy source, surpassing both natural gas and wind turbine generation.

New Eu PV at 17.3 GW out-paced natural gas installations by 58%. However on a world-wide basis, wind power remains the dominant new renewable energy source with installations of over 40 GW in 2011. By 2011, the cumulative installed PV generating base reached 68 GW. By comparison, this represents about 28% of the installed wind base of 238 GW.

More than 40 GW of new electrical energy installations were completed in Europe in 2011. Photovoltaic power was the leading product. Renewables account for 67% of the total mix.

In terms of production, 7.6% more wattage of PV cells was manufactured than generating capacity installed (29.5 GW compared to 27.4 GW). Inventories at the end of 2011 amounted to less than 1 month. Our figure of merit, (the ratio of total sector revenues to installed PV generation capacity) for 2011 improved significantly to US$3.53 per watt by 24% compared to US$4.6 per watt in 2010.

PV production volume is now dominated by manufacturing in Asia where China and Taiwan now account for about 74% of the world supply. Production by European companies declined sharply in 2011 to less that 6% of the global total. Because many of the remaining companies manufacture some of their products in Asia, the actual amount of manufacturing activity in Europe is even less significant.

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