According to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the global new solar capacity grew 54% to nearly 28GW in 2011 with Germany and Italy leading in installations. Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at the research company, advised that PV installations went up to between 26.5 and 29.4GW last year, compared to 18.2GW in 2010, and her central forecast of 28GW.
“The year was on the high side of even bullish estimates,” Chase commented. “We think 2012 will be about flat, as European markets have overshot targets and spending caps and plan to rein back severely.”
Bloomberg noted that European governments, not excluding Germany, Italy or the UK, were cutting subsidies as prices for PV panels drop, which will impede installations that started after they offered FiT giving above-market rates for electricity from low-carbon sources.
The company’s data additionally showed that solar installations rose around the world mostly because of the quickly declining price of panels. New spending on solar energy went up 36% to US$136.6 billion in 2011, representing almost half of all renewable energy investment worldwide last year.
Chase advised that although the fourth quarter showed strength in installations, it wouldn’t be a reason for optimism in 2012. She countered that European markets will slow due to subsidy cuts, and while most other markets will continue to grow, they are smaller in comparison to Europe.