Despite a second year of COVID-19 pandemic, preliminary reported market data shows that the global PV market again grew significantly in 2021. At least 175 GW of PV systems have been installed and commissioned in the world last year which means that the total cumulative installed capacity for PV at the end of 2021 reached at least 942 GW. While these data will have to be confirmed in the coming months, some important trends can already be extracted:
• The Chinese PV market grew again in 2021, despite shortages observed in the value chain during the year and was the largest market in terms of annual installed capacity. In 2021, 54,9 GW of PV were installed, compared to 48,2 GW in 2020 and 30,1 GW in 2019. China remains the leader in terms of cumulative capacity with 308,5 GW installed, almost one third of the global PV installed capacity.
• In addition to China, the rest of the global PV market grew significantly from 97 GW in 2020, to at least 120 GW in 2021, a 24% increase year on year.
– The US market saw its market increasing to 26,9 GW which allowed it to overtake the European Union that was ranked second last year. Utility-scale installations accounted for about 75% of the new additions.
– The European Union lost its position as the second global PV market and ranked third in 2021 by installing close to 25 GW. Outside of the EU, the rest of Europe added around 3 GW. The largest European market in 2021 was again Germany (5,3 GW), followed by Spain (4,9 GW), France (3,4 GW) the Netherlands (3,3 GW), Poland (3,3 GW), Greece (1,2 GW), Italy (944 MW) and Belgium (850 MW).
– India and Japan rank third and fourth with respectively an estimated 13 GW and 6,5 GW annual installed capacity.
– Some growing key markets contributed significantly to new additions in 2021, Brazil (5,5 GW, fifth), Australia (4,6 GW, eighth), Korea (4,2 GW, ninth), Mexico (1,8 GW). Preliminary numbers show that Taiwan, Pakistan each have installed close to 2 GW.
– Among the top 10 countries, there are now five Asia-Pacific countries (Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea), three European countries (Germany, Spain and France) and two countries in the Americas (Brazil and the USA).
• The level to enter the top 10 global markets in 2021 was around 3,0 GW; a stable level compared to 2020 and twice the level needed in 2019.
• The top 10 countries represented around 74% of the global annual PV market, a slight decrease compared to 2020.
• Australia, Spain, Greece, Honduras, the Netherlands, Chile and Germany now have enough PV capacity to theoretically1 produce more than 10% of their annual electricity demand with PV. PV covers around 5% of the global electricity demand.
The contribution of PV to decarbonizing the energy mix is progressing, with PV saving as much as 1 100 million tons of CO2eq. However, much remains to be done to fully decarbonize and PV deployment should increase by at least one order of magnitude to cope with the targets defined during the COP21 in Paris, France.