The global solar market grew slightly in 2014 to about 40 GW, while Europe only installed around 7 GW of solar. The UK market was the only bright spot, increasing installations over 50 percent to more than 2 GW.
The 10th annual Market Workshop of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) announced that about 40 Gigawatt (GW) of solar were installed globally in 2014. China, Japan and the USA continued to lead the world’s solar market for the second year in a row. Europe installed around 7 GW with the UK leading installations for the first time.
The global solar market increased in 2014 by around 8 percent, from 37 GW in 2013. The European market, on the other hand, declined by 36 percent to about 7 GW from 11 GW in 2013. Only the UK, which upped its installations to 2.3 GW from 1.5 GW year-on-year, showed strong growth on the Continent. “It’s great to see a thriving solar market in the UK,” says EPIA CEO James Watson, “as it proves solar energy’s versatility to be a success in a country famous for its ‘mild’ climate.”
The solar boom in the UK is the only highlight in Europe these days. “At a time, solar power has lower cost than retail and often even commercial electricity, it is hard to understand why governments are not pushing much harder to tap the technology’s potential as the European Union is looking for sustainable and secure energy supply,” says Watson.
“The European solar companies are ready for much more, but we need a stable regulatory framework,” said EPIA President Oliver Schäfer. Adding, “Solar is now a predictable source of energy – and European policy makers simply have to understand that and design an energy system based on solar power.”
EPIA’s installation numbers presented at the market workshop are the initial results of the organization’s annual survey on global solar markets. The final results as well as a forecast for 2015 will be published in EPIA’s Global Market Outlook (GMO) in June.