The study, conducted by the JRC Institute for Energy (IE), gives an overview of current activities in research, manufacturing and market implementation in this sector

The report shows that European PV production has grown on average by 50% per annum since 1999 and its market share has increased to 26% in 2008. In terms of electricity generation, photovoltaics contributed in 2008 for about 0.35 % of Europe’s final electricity consumption.

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Global investment in renewable energies and energy efficiency was hit by the financial crisis in late 2008 and early 2009, but is now showing signs of a strong recovery. The report notes a significant slowdown in investment in the second half of 2008 (-10% in the third quarter; -23% in the fourth), that continued in the first quarter of 2009 (-47% compared with the fourth quarter of 2008), but started to reverse in the second quarter (+83% compared with the first quarter of 2009).

Other key findings of the report:

  • In 2008, China became the leading producer of solar cells with an annual production of about 2.4 GW, followed by Europe with 1.9 GW, Japan with 1.2 GW and Taiwan with 0.8 GW. It this trend continues, China might have about 32% of the world-wide production capacity by 2012.
  • An increasing number of producers are entering the market, therefore, the market share of the ten largest PV manufacturers decreased from 80% in 2004 to 50% in 2008.
  • In 2008, thin-film solar modules have reached 12-14% of the market share.
  • Concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) is an emerging market with approximately 17MW cumulative installed capacity in 2008.

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