As of the end of 2012, the total grid-connected solar PV capacity worldwide reached 100 gigawatts.
That preliminary figure comes from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), who calculated that both 2011 and 2012 saw about 30 GW of capacity installed globally.
Last year, eight countries added one gigawatt (or more) of PV capacity, and now 13 countries have exceeded one gigawatt of cumulative installations. Almost 17 GW was installed in Europe alone – though that’s down from a record 23 GW in 2011 – with the top markets being Germany, Italy and France.
Outside of Europe, China was the top market for installations, followed by the U.S. and Japan.
This 100 GW milestone amounts to photovoltaics producing as much electricity in a year as 16 coal power plants, and a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 53 million tons.
“No one would have predicted even 10 years ago that we would see more than 100 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity in the world by 2012,” said EPIA President Winfried Hoffmann.
“The photovoltaic industry clearly faces challenges but the results of 2012 show there is a strong global market for our technology. Even in tough economic times and despite growing regulatory uncertainty, we have nearly managed to repeat the record year of 2011.”
The EPIA report touted the positive results for 2012 despite challenging regulatory environment, noting that Greece installed just under 1 GW despite its recession. Further, the EPIA predicts another year of 30 GW of global installations for 2013.
The final EPIA figures for global installations will be released in May.