Most of the 16 GW installed outside Asia throughout 2014 corresponds to facilities in North America and Europe. The first continent added 6.7 GW, with facilities in the United States accounted for 30% more than in 2013, reaching a total of 18.3 GW.
The residential demand (1.2 GW) in the United States grew by more than 50% for the third consecutive year thanks to falling equipment prices, increase in public funding and policy options to encourage PV generation.
The solar PV plays a very important role in electricity generation in some European countries. At the end of 2014, 7.9% of the annual electricity demand of Italy was assisted by PV generation, 7.6% in Greece to 7% in Germany. Across the European continent, this figure corresponded to 3.5% of total consumption (from 0.3% in 2008).
In 2014, Europe continued to lead the world in total local operating capacity (87 GW) and the use of PV solar energy to supply electricity. However, the continent’s markets decreased for the third consecutive year, with the connection of 6.3 GW, well below the 22 GW of 2011. Demand fell in most European countries due to the reduction in policy support and back taxes , which shook investor confidence.
UK and Germany were the main installers in Europe, ranked as fourth and fifth, respectively, by increase in global capacity of PV generation in 2014. The UK has installed 2.4 GW, with a total of 5.2 GW at the end of year. More than 125,000 homes in the country have installed PV systems on their roofs.
Asia and Oceania
Asia has eclipsed all other markets, accounting for almost 60% of the overall increase in solar PV. In 2014, only China increased the cumulative capacity of 10.6 GW for a total of more than 28 GW. More than 80% of the new capacity of the country’s large-scale plants, the rest was distributed in roofs and other facilities for use in small-scale systems.
China produced about 25 billion kWh of electricity with solar PV in 2014, an increase of over 200% over 2013. The Japanese market continued rapid expansion in 2014, with connection of approximately 9.7 network GW, bringing the total capacity to 23.3 GW.
Australia was the seventh overall position thanks to the addition of 0.9 GW, reaching a total of over 4.1 GW. About 14% of households have solar roofs, the highest percentage (24%) in the South. In addition, more than 15 thousand companies installed PV systems in the region.
Updated in January 2016, with REN21 information