The 2011 JRC PV
Status Report indicates that the photovoltaic (PV) industry production more
than doubled in 2010, thus reaching a world-wide production volume of 23.5 GW
of photovoltaic modules. It is a more than 500-fold growth compared to 1990
when the global production amounted to 46 MW. Such increase makes the
photovoltaics one of the fastest-growing industries at present.
This is the tenth edition
of the JRC “PV Status Report”, prepared by its Institute for Energy
and Transport (IET). The report summarizes and evaluates the results of a
survey of more than 300 companies worldwide. It shows that with a cumulative
installed capacity of over 29 GW, the European Union is leading in PV
installations. By the end of 2010, European photovoltaic installations provided
more than 70% of the total world-wide solar photovoltaic electricity generation
Photovoltaics is a method
of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct
current electricity. It is one of the most promising technological options to realize
the shift to a decarbonized energy supply. Current solar cell technologies are
well-established with sufficient efficiency and energy output for at least 25
years of lifetime. This reliability, in addition to other factors, adds to the
attractiveness of photovoltaic systems.
The photovoltaic industry
has changed dramatically over the last few years. China
has become the major manufacturing centre for solar cells and modules followed
by Taiwan, Germany, and Japan. Amongst the twenty biggest
photovoltaic manufacturers in 2010, only four had production facilities in
Europe, namely First Solar (USA,
Germany, Malaysia, Vietnam),
Q-Cells (Germany and Malaysia), REC (Norway
and Singapore), and
Solarworld (Germany and USA).
The prices of solar
modules have seen a dramatic reduction by almost 50% over the last three years.