Global installed utility-scale solar jumped 65% in 2014

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The total installed capacity of utility-scale solar jumped 65% in 2014, according to figures released by Wiki-Solar.org.

The website, which tracks the installation of >5MW solar installs across the globe, claims that the there was a total of 35.9GW of utility-scale solar capacity at the end of 2014. The total marks a 14.2GW jump from 2013.

The UK has spearheaded a return to growth for the utility-scale solar sector in Europe, according to the figures.

Wiki-Solar states that capacity is fairly evenly split across the three leading continents: Asia, Europe and North America. However, 2014 marked the first year since 2011 that the European market for utility-scale solar experienced growth following declines in 2012 and 2013.

Commenting on the results, Philip Wolfe, founder of Wiki-Solar said: “Europe’s resurgence – after the 2012 policy changes in the traditional powerhouse of Germany – has been fuelled mainly by a buoyant British market.”

Wolfe also predicts that the rush of ground-mount projects trying to beat the renewable obligation deadline of 31 March will see the UK overtake India or possibly even Germany to become the world’s third or fourth largest utility-scale solar market.  

“Only the US, China and India can claim consistent longer-term growth,” said Wolfe, adding that Chile, Japan and Canada also looked “relatively stable” and could become sustainable markets.

Recent policy changes in the UK forced Wolfe to warn that the UK could be following other mature European solar markets into a period of stagnation after renewable obligation funding for >5MW projects is removed in April. Developers looking to install utility-scale solar in the UK will then be forced to use the contracts for difference (CfDs) mechanism, which only five solar PV projects successfully bid for in 2015. Under the CfDs, solar PV must compete with onshore wind for a share of the budget.

Below is a table showing the top fourteen utility-scale solar markets, which account for 94% of the world’s installed utility-scale PV capacity. Wiki-Solar expects every market in the table, bar Ukraine, to exceed 1GW by the end of 2015:

Country

No. of

Plants

Capacity

MWAC

United States

513

9,327.9

China

306

8,556.6

Germany

281

3,468.0

India

204

2,304.6

United Kingdom

281

2,252.7

Spain

172

1,682.4

Canada

83

982.3

Italy

90

922.3

France

77

900.0

South Africa

20

783.7

Chile

19

776.0

Thailand

71

757.1

Japan

33

664.6

Ukraine

20

499.7

 

 

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