Brussels, Belgium – Global investments in solar photovoltaic (PV) technology could double from €35-40 billion today to over €70 billion in 2015, according to a study published this week by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and Greenpeace International. The estimated investments in the European Union alone would rise from today’s €25-30 billion to over €35 billion in 2015.
This report on the global market outlook for solar photovoltaic, named “Solar Generation 6," foresees that PV could account for 12% of European power demand by 2020 and up to 9% of the global power demand by 2030.
"Our goal is to make solar photovoltaic technology a mainstream power source through policy support at an optimal cost for consumers," said Sven Teske, senior energy expert at Greenpeace International. "Solar photovoltaic is a key technology for combating climate change; our research shows that it creates 35 to 50 jobs per ton of CO2 savings and will increase the security of energy supplies by reducing dependency on energy imports to Europe."
"Solar photovoltaic technology has, for many years now, shown increased power efficiencies and cost reductions," said Ingmar Wilhelm, president of EPIA. "Today’s cost predictions, driven by economies of scale in light of global photovoltaic capacity, totaling 40,000 MW in 2010, show that the technology is on the brink of an economic breakthrough."
Since 2005, PV prices have dropped some 40%, and by 2015 the cost of PV systems is expected to drop by an additional 40% compared to current levels. As a result, PV systems will be able to compete with electricity prices for households in many countries of the European Union within the next five years.
"We aim to make this important phase of cost competitiveness visible, and the EPIA will provide a realistic roadmap for every country with clear concepts on market mechanisms, allowing equal treatment of all electricity sources," added Wilhelm.
The report estimates that current global solar PV capacity could grow from more than 36 GW at the end of 2010 to close to 180 GW by 2015. European PV capacity is expected to increase from more than 28 GW in 2010 to nearly 100 GW by 2015, and has potential to reach up to 350 GW on a global basis by 2020. This would save as much as 1.4 billion tons in CO2 emissions globally and 220 million tons CO2 within the EU every year.
In addition to its environmental benefits, solar energy is a sustainable way to address concerns about energy security and volatile fossil fuel prices and is also a substantial factor in economic development, says the report. The European PV industry, which already employs over 300,000 people, could provide jobs to over 600,000 by 2015 and has potential to further increase this number to 1.6 million in 2020 if general policy support remains effective.
The "Solar Generation 6" report also highlights the enormous PV potential for Europe in the light of the Union’s established 20% renewable energy and the 20% energy efficiency target. Based on this potential for photovoltaic growth, the EU could easily increase its emission reduction target from the current 20% by 2020 to a more aggressive 30% level.
For further information, contact Sven Teske, Greenpeace International, at +49 171 878 7552.