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Global situation for PV in 2012  

Extract from PV Power Markets  8,8,2012

In 2011, the market for large solar farms with outputs over 1 MW developed rapidly worldwide, becoming the fastest growing sector within the solar market. While the European and Japanese markets are dominated by small roof-mounted installations, expansion in Asia, North America and other regions has almost exclusively stemmed from large installations within the utility-scale sector.

According to figures from EPIA, 29.7 GW of new installations were added in 2011, with 21 GW in Europe alone. Analysts at NPD Solarbuzz predict that emerging markets, such as China, North America and India, will also grow further in 2012, accounting for around a third of new PV capacity installed worldwide. In 2011, they were responsible for one fifth. Europe’s share will shrink to just over half in 2012, dropping to under 42 percent by 2016.

The market’s most important driving forces are the falling system costs of photovoltaics and the increasing price of electricity generated using conventional technologies

Australia

Like the Southwest USA, Australia requires a lot of electricity for air conditioning and cooling systems during the summer. In 2011, electricity during the peak midday period was sometimes offered at record prices of 10,000 Australian dollars per MWh. The standard price is between 35 and 50 dollars. The use of photovoltaics is therefore highly attractive in Australia, since solar installations generate most electricity during the middle of the day.

The extreme peak prices yield considerable profits, which is why, according to figures from EPIA, capacity installed in 2011 alone amounted to 774 MW. Increasing numbers of large-scale installations are set to be constructed in Australia to stabilize energy supply and lower electricity prices during the summer.

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