Photovoltaic Energy Could Meet 12% of European Electricity Demand

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) presented concrete evidence at COP16 in support of an accelerated deployment of photovoltaic (PV) solar electricity across the globe to bring clean energy to both the developed and developing world.

According to EPIA’s paradigm shift scenario, by 2020, photovoltaic (PV) energy could contribute as much as 12% of the electricity demand in Europe alone; reaching 390 GW of installed capacity and saving 220 Mt of CO2 per year. This is the equivalent to eliminating the carbon emissions from Thailand or taking 98 million cars off the road each year

“Not only is the sun an unlimited source of energy, PV electricity is available in large and small scale, in-grid and off-grid, which makes it perfect to reach all four corners of the world,” explains Eleni Despotou, EPIA’s secretary general. “Just as cell phones can bring the advantages of 21st century connectivity to regions which lack a traditional telecommunications infrastructure, PV is uniquely capable of becoming a catalyst for sustainable development by providing basic services such as lighting, drinking water, healthcare or education, which are crucial to meet the Millennium Development Goals”.

PV capacity in the Sunbelt region (comprising all countries between parallels 35 North/South) could range from 60 to 250 GW by 2020, and from 260 to 1,100 GW by 2030, which according to EPIA would represent 27-58% of the forecasted global installed PV capacity by then. A major departure from today’s situation in this area where, despite the exceptionally high solar irradiation registered, only 9% of the global installed PV capacity is accounted for.

“The Sunbelt represents now about 75% of the world population and 40% of the global electricity demand but our analysis shows that about 80% of the growth of the world electricity demand in the coming 20 years will originate from this region. COP16 negotiators must acknowledge the massive potential of PV in these countries, which remains largely untapped, and guarantee that the right policies and incentives are put in place to bring them clean and renewable energy,” he adds.

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