According to European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), photovoltaic (PV) industry revenues reached a record $93 billion (USD) in 2011, a 13.4% increase over the $82 billion in 2010 and a 150% increase over revenues in 2009. Worldwide, 27.4 gigawatts (GW) of PV were installed, bringing cumulative PV electrical generation capacity to 68GW at the end of 2011. The data shows that installations grew by 56% compared to 2010. Europe remains the leader for deployment, accounting for more than 63% of PV installations worldwide. About 27% of all the installations worldwide 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—particularly in China.
Cumulative installation of PV generation capacity. Worldwide, 68GW cumulative were installed by the end of 2011. PV capacity is now 28% as large as the park of wind turbines.
In Europe, 41GW of electrical generation capacity from all sources were installed in 2011. This can be compared to 57.6GW in 2010. This decrease is due in part to the economic recession which grew 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 European Union (EU) PV at 17.3GW out-paced natural gas installations by 58%. However, on a worldwide basis, wind power remains the dominant new renewable energy source with installations of more than 40GW in 2011. By then, the cumulative installed PV generating base reached 68GW. In comparison, this amount represents about 28% of the installed wind base of 238GW.
More than 40GW of new electrical energy installations were completed in Europe in 2011. PV 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 (29.5GW compared to 27.4GW). Inventories at the end of 2011 amounted to less than one month’s worth. Our figure of merit—the ratio of total sector revenues to installed PV generation capacity—for 2011 improved by 24% to $3.53 per watt compared to $4.60 per watt for 2010. PV production volume is now dominated by manufacturing in Asia where China and Taiwan 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.