In 2012, the market for PV in Europe decreased for the first time since 2006, dropping well below the record achieved in 2011 of 22.7GW.

According to preliminary figures by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) installations in 2012 fell to 16.6GW, largely on the back of significant decreases in Italy and France.

Germany continued to lead with 7.6GW installed in 2012, while Italy recorded 3.3GW, a massive drop from the 9.3GW installed in 2011.

France added a total of 1.2GW to Europe’s capacity, but is still performing well below its “theoretical potential”, according to the EPIA.

Behind the top three in Europe, the UK installed 1.1GW in 2012 for the first time, up from 875MW in 2011. The Government has announced its commitment to solar recently in the UK highlighting it as a key technology in its Renewables Roadmap.

Despite the fall in Europe, 2012 showed an important shift towards a more global PV market, with those outside of the continent recording substantial growth.

For the first time, the cumulative global installed PV capacity passed the 100GW mark, achieving just over 101GW.

The final results of the figures will be published in May 2013 in the EPIA’s “Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013-2017”.

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Leigh Stringer

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