The installed capacity of photovoltaic solar (PV) on our planet exceeded the threshold of 100 gigawatts (GW) in 2012, ending just above 101 GW, according to the latest figures released by the European photovoltaic industry agency (EPIA).

“The overall ability to capture energy from the sun produces as much electricity in a year than the equivalent of 16 coal-fired or nuclear power plants (1 GW unit)”, insisted EPIA in a statement. Each year, the PV in the world can reduce CO2 emissions by about 53 million tonnes.

For the single year 2012, “30 GW of solar PV were connected to the network and turned on – roughly the same record level achieved in 2011.” The figure mentioned, however, could increase by another 1 GW or GW 2, says the association. Final results for 2012 will be published in May, at the annual conference of the EPIA.

“Nobody could have predicted ten years ago that we would see more than 100 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity in the world in 2012,” said EPIA President Winfried Hoffmann.

“The photovoltaic industry is clearly facing challenges, but the results of 2012 show that there is a strong global market for our technology. Even in tough economic times and despite regulatory uncertainties that progress, we almost managed to repeat record year of 2011”, he added.

At the end of the 30 GW of PV, 13 GW have been outside of Europe (against just under 8 GW in 2011): China (between 3.5 GW and 4.5 GW) the United States (3.2 GW) and Japan (2.5 GW). And nearly 17 GW concerned Europe (against nearly 23 GW in 2011): Germany (7.6 GW), Italy (3.3 GW) and France (1.2 GW).

“The key for the future will be adequate responses to new market challenges and a continuation of support policies that contribute to the development of photovoltaic technology in a sustainable manner”, concluded Winfried Hoffmann.

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