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02 November 2010

Solar photovoltaic on the brink of an economic breakthrough

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New study projects solar investments to double until 2015; 9 % of global power demand could be met with solar photovoltaic by 2030

Solar photovoltaic could account for 5% of global power demand by 2020, and up to 9% by 2030, according to a study presented today by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and Greenpeace International.
The global solar photovoltaic outlook “Solar Generation 2010” (1) projects investments in solar photovoltaic (PV) to double from €35 billion today to €70 billion in 2015. At the same time, costs for PV systems are expected to almost halve (-40%). As a result, PV systems can compete with current electricity costs for households in most industrialized countries. This so-called “grid parity” will change the PV market significantly.

“Solar photovoltaic is a key technology to combat climate change and to secure access to clean electricity. Today’s figures show that the technology is on the brink of an economic breakthrough,” said Sven Teske, Senior Energy Expert at Greenpeace International. “By 2015, the market could be twice as big as today, leading to a €70 billion investment. Our goal is to make solar photovoltaic a mainstream power source through more supportive polices around the world.”

Ingmar Wilhelm, President of EPIA, said: “Solar photovoltaic power can give a massive contribution to global electricity supply, in traditional photovoltaic markets as well as in developing countries. By 2030, up to 2.5 billion people could benefit from solar energy. This enormous growth potential is strongly sustained by remarkable and continuous reduction of costs and by the technology's unique versatility. Herein lies the key to develop photovoltaic systems for every kind of roof and it is also a great opportunity for the electrification of communities not yet benefitting from the supply of electrical power..”

Current solar PV capacity could grow from 23 GW at the beginning of 2010 to 180 GW by 2015, according to the report, which was presented at the Government of India’s Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference (DIREC) with the support of Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century. Over 1,800 GW could be installed by 2030. This would save as much as 1.4 billion tonnes in CO2 emissions every year.

In addition to its environmental benefits, solar energy is shown to be a sustainable way to address concerns about energy security and volatile fossil fuel prices, as well as a substantial factor in economic development. The PV industry, which already employs about 230,000 people worldwide, could provide jobs to 1.3 million workers by 2015. By 2050, this figure could stand at 5 million.


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