New numbers from the European Union Joint Research Centre show that Europe installed two-thirds of all solar panels around the world in 2011; 18.5 total gigawatts of solar photovoltaics, which brings the planet’s total solar PV capacity to 52 gigawatts. Last year was a big year for solar.
Unsurprisingly, Europe also accounted for two-thirds of the global investment in solar photovoltaics, reaching about $84 billion in 2011. Over the past 10 years or so, Europe’s solar PV industry grew at an average of 40% annually, and dropping production costs by as much as 60%. China currently takes the top spot as the largest producer of solar power products in the world, making up 50% of the market.
Solar power still only produces about 2% of Europe’s total electricity, and with a goal of reaching 20% renewable energy by 2020, there is still a lot of work to be done, and a lot of growth to occur, even with wind and other renewables contributing to the overall goal. In addition, Germany currently boasts more solar power than the rest of Europe combined.
How long do you think it will take for the rest of the world to catch up to Europe?
Image CC licensed by Ian Rutherford