The PV market grew by 50 GW last year while total capacity has reached at least 227 GW around the globe, according to the International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power System Programmes (IEA PVPS) newly published Snapshot of Global Photovoltaic Markets 2015.
The reports preliminary figures show that about 49 GW of PV capacity wereinstalled in the IEA PVPS countries and in other major markets during 2015. This number reaches a total of 50 GW when additional smaller markets are included.
The Asia-Pacific region represented around 59% of the global PV market in 2015 and is the first ranking region for the third year in a row, according to the study, which was published on Wednesday.
The most significant developments were seen in China, where the market is progressing to 15.3 GW, according IEA PVPS. The second largest market was Japan with 11 GW last year, ahead of the European Union and the U.S. with more than 7 GW each. The agency described India, with 2 GW, as the rising star in the PV sector.
Europe's market share fell to 18% despite a growth in absolute terms. In the Americas, the PV market continued to grow, with the United States, Canada and Chile leading the way, ahead of several new markets.
While the African market declined, the Middle East boasted many project announcements and set up a number of installations.
The report found that in 22 countries, the annual PV contribution to electricity demand had passed the 1% mark, with Italy at the top of the list at around 8%, followed by Greece at 7.4% and Germany at 7.1%. The overall global PV contribution amounts to around 1.3% of the world's electricity demand, according to the study.
PV has become a major source of electricity at an extremely rapid pace in several countries all over the world, the IEA PVPS said, pointing out that the flexibility and adaptability of solar PV made it suitable for most environments.
The speed of its development stems from its unique ability to cover most market segments, from the very small individual systems for rural electrification to utility-size power plants (today over 750 MWp).
The IEA PVPS report provides estimated PV capacity data in the countries reporting to the agency and additional key markets. The preliminary assessment is a precursor to the IEAs PVPS Trends Report that will be published in September.