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Photovoltaic markets grow around the world

February 12, 2013  By Brandi Cowen

An estimated 30 GW of solar photovoltaic electricity connected to the grid and became operational in 2012. (Courtesy

The world’s cumulative solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity capacity surpassed 100 GW in 2012, according to new market figures from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).

Our global capacity to harness the power of the sun, which reached just over 101 GW, produces as much electricity in a year as 16 coal power plants or nuclear reactors of one gigawatt each.



An estimated 30 GW connected to the grid and became operational in 2012 – roughly the same as the record-setting level of 2011. These results are preliminary and the 30 GW figure could be increased by an additional one or two gigawatts as final numbers become available.


“No one would have predicted even 10 years ago that we would see more than 100 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity in the world by 2012,” said EPIA president Winfried Hoffmann. “The photovoltaic industry clearly faces challenges but the results of 2012 show there is a strong global market for our technology. Even in tough economic times and despite growing regulatory uncertainty, we have nearly managed to repeat the record year of 2011.


Final results for 2012 will be published in the EPIA’s annual Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013-2017, to be released in May.

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