EPIA, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, presented the findings during its 9th Market Workshop in Brussels last week.
Other highlights from the report: the global PV cumulative installed capacity reached 136.7 GW at the end of last year. That's a 35% increase compared to the previous year. Also, Europe lost its leading role in the PV market in 2013, while Asia gained ground. While Europe concentrated more than 70% of the world's new PV installations in 2011, and is still around 59% a year later with more than 10 GW of new capacity installed in 2013, the continent only accounted for 28% of the world's market. Dynamic Asian markets, led by China and Japan (around 11.3 GW and 6.9 GW respectively), partially explain this trend reversal, as the Asia-Pacific region represented 57% of last year's global market.
"In a number of European countries, harsh support reduction, retrospective measures and unplanned changes to regulatory frameworks that badly affect investors' confidence and PV investments viability have led to a significant market decrease", observed Gaëtan Masson, EPIA Head of Business Intelligence. This is particularly the case for Italy -- third global market in 2012 -- which experienced a 70% market decrease compared to the year before. Germany, formerly the top global market, also experienced in 2013 a steep PV market decrease (57% decrease compared to 2012), due primarily to intentional regulatory changes.
Despite EPIA's preliminary 2013 results, solar PV remains on course to become a major source of energy for Europe and the world, according to Winfried Hoffmann, EPIA president. In fact, in 2013 solar PV was the second new source of electricity generation installed in Europe. "From 0.3% of Europe's electricity needs in 2008, PV already covers as much as 3% only five years later", Hoffmann added. "Only with coherent, dynamic, stable and predictable support policies can Europe regain a leading position in the energy revolution and further develop PV markets."