Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

55 GW of Solar PV to Be Installed Globally in 2015, Up 36% Over 2014

July 21, 2015
If 2014 was a “transitional year,” as the report calls it, 2015 will be a transcendent year.
A worker installs solar panels containing photovoltaic cells at the new Solarpark Eggersdorf solar park near Muencheberg, Germany, on Sept. 4, 2012. The park, which is being built by German solar-energy operator juwi Solar GmbH, will contain 85,000 solar modules and is one of many similar projects in eastern Germany. Germany is investing heavily in renewable-energy projects, especially solar, wind, and biogas ventures, as the country is in the process of closing down its nuclear energy plants. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

With 55 gigawatts expected to be installed, the global photovoltaic (PV) market will grow 36 percent in 2015, according to GTM Research’s latest report, “Global PV Demand Outlook, 2015-2015: Exploring Risk in Downstream Solar Markets.” That is up significantly from the market’s 2-percent growth in 2014.

Annual PV demand (GW) by region. Source: GTM Research, "Global PV Demand Outlook, 2015-2015."

If 2014 was a “transitional year,” as the report calls it, 2015 will be a transcendent year. Led by China, the Asia-Pacific region will install more than half of all global PV this year. Europe will begin an upswing, and North America, primarily the United States, will continue its year-over-year growth.

“China has emerged as the largest global market for PV, underpinned by a new feed-in tariff program and ambitious solar goals under the Five Year Plan,” report author and GTM Research Solar Analyst Adam James writes. GTM Research forecasts that China will install 14 gigawatts of the region’s 30 gigawatts of PV in 2015.

Europe’s share of the global PV market has declined steadily since its dominance from 2004 to 2011. However, GTM Research expects the decline to bottom out this year at 21 percent and begin growing again in 2016. By 2020, Europe will install 42 GW and account for 31 percent of the global market.

PV demand by region, 2001-2020. Source: GTM Research, “Global PV Demand Outlook, 2015-2015.”

The United States will be the third-ranked PV market this year, behind only China and Japan. GTM Research forecasts the United States to install 8 gigawatts, which constitutes 14 percent of the global PV market.

To date, the global solar PV market has been largely shaped by policy booms and busts. However, with costs continuing to fall, a new era of economic competitiveness in which solar PV will be increasingly market-based is dawning. According to the report, new countries will come into play.

"One profound change in the global landscape is that emerging regional markets, such as Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, are expected to grow from their historical levels of 1 percent of annual demand to 17 percent over the next five years," James said.

"Our core thesis is that solar is poised for exponential growth that will help it account for roughly half of new capacity out to 2020,” James says. “While solar demand will grow almost everywhere, there are some key drivers, including unprecedented demand in emerging markets, the evolution of grid parity in Europe, and massive headroom in developing countries such as China and India."

By 2020, GTM Research forecasts the solar PV market to hit 135 gigawatts.

For more information and to purchase the report, go to