IEA PVPS 2014 report praises solar's tremendous development

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) PVPS annual report 2014 has revealed that, for the first time ever, solar PV satisfied more than 1% of global electricity demand last year.

Seemingly a small proportion of the global energy mix, the benchmark represented a landmark breakthrough for the industry, said IEA PVPS chairman Stefan Nowak, calling solar’s growth a “tremendous development” that had exceeded all expectations.

In his message to the IEA PVPS committee members, Nowak recognized that the changes in the industry were creating new demands and challenges, but also opportunities, and praised the efforts numerous parties for their assistance in helping PV technology become a positive change agent in the energy mix.

"2014 has seen another roughly 40 GW of installed PV capacity worldwide, raising the cumulative installed capacity close to 180 GW," Nowak wrote. "At the same time, the somewhat slower pace of the global growth observed in the past years has been confirmed and reflects important changes in the regional development of PV markets."

The report highlighted the growth of Asia and the U.S. markets at the expense of Europe’s own expansion as representing the most obvious evolution, but was buoyed by the growth of PV to a broader range of countries "with substantial market size", said Nowak.

The IEA PVPS Snapshot of Global Markets 2014, published in March, found that the Asia Pacific region represented around 59% of the global PV market in 2014. In 2012, it was Europe that represented 59% of the global market, whereas today that share is down to around 18%.

The annual report noted another trend – that of cost reduction and cost-competitiveness. "PV has further gained in cost-competitiveness and has become one of the least-cost options of renewable electricity, achieving remarkable levelized costs of electricity as low as below $0.06/kWh in the best cases," said Nowak.

The remainder of the annual report outlined the work being done by IEA PVPS members to improve market development and technical know-how within the PV industry, exploring the collaborative projects being undertaken by member countries and the IEA to further advance the sector.