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Editorial - 8 October 2014 - Trends in PV Applications

Following the difficult year of 2012 in terms of market growth, industry consolidation, policy uncertainty and ongoing fast cost reduction, 2013 has seen a slower evolution on the cost side but also a growing worldwide market again, although with a different split of dominant markets compared to the past.

The fast rise of PV markets in Asia and America has been confirmed as has the decline of the total market in Europe. Overall, 35 GW of PV were installed in IEA PVPS member countries during 2013 (2012: 25 GW), whereas the global PV market is estimated to be at least 39 GW, translating to more than an average of 100 MW installed on a daily basis throughout the year. The global installed total PV capacity is estimated at roughly 140 GW at the end of 2013. PV system prices have seen a slower decline than in the years before or even small increases, indicating that the speed of future cost reduction may be reduced. On the supply side, the indicators suggest that the consolidation phase in the industry starts to be overcome although competition remains high.

At the same time, at the present comparatively low prices, some price flexibility for different applications can be expected. With PV life cycle costs of electricity reaching socket parity with electricity grids in some countries, self consumption and new business models gain importance while Feed-in Tariffs continue to evolve.  Overall, this is an encouraging sign for the growing competitiveness of PV and the increasing occurrence of self-sustained markets. Clearly, policy support is changing over time but is still considered essential for the near term development of PV markets worldwide.

Quantitatively, the number of countries experiencing PV as an essential part of their electricity supply is increasing, with Italy in first place with close to 8% of annual electricity demand coming from PV, followed by Germany (> 6%) and Greece (close to 6%). In terms of peak capacity, these high shares of PV start to affect and pose challenges to the integration in the electricity system. New business models and market designs will emerge in response to this development. All of these developments are clear signs that PV is becoming more mature and a relevant part of the electricity supply system.

Download the report (and former editions) here.


Latest publications

(New) Review of Failure of PV Modules

One key factor of reducing the costs of photovoltaic systems is to increase the reliability and the service life time of the PV modules. Today’s statistics show degradation rates of the rated power for crystalline silicon PV modules of 0.8%/year. To increase the reliability and the service life of PV modules one has to understand the challenges involved. For this reason, the international Task 13 expert team has summarized the literature as well as their knowledge and personal experiences on actual failures of PV modules.

The report can be found here.

(New) Analytical Monitoring of Grid-Connected PV Systems

This report focuses on the analytical assessment of photovoltaic (PV) plant performance on the overall PV system level. In particular, this report provides detailed guidelines and comprehensive descriptions of methods and models used when analyzing grid-connected PV system performance.

The report can be found here.

(New) Characterisation of Performances of Thin-Film PV Technologies

Although thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules have been in production for decades, the characterization of their performance, both outdoors and under artificial light, remains a topic of active research. This is because the field contains a diverse set of PV technologies, each of which has physical differences from conventional crystalline silicon PV. These differences range from different temperature coefficients to complex short-term or seasonal transients in performance. This report summarizes the nature of these special behaviours and demonstrates best practices for handling them in the context of several case studies.

The report can be found here.

2013 IEA PVPS Annual Report

The IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme IEA PVPS is pleased to present its 2013 annual report. 2013 has been a turning point in many aspects for the global development of photovoltaics and this Annual Report reflects such evolution. 

This document summarizes the actions of member countries and the activities in all research programs (tasks).

The report can be downloaded here.

A Snapshot of Global PV 1992-2013

The new 2014 Edition of the IEA PVPS report A Snapshot of Global PV is now available. This edition presents preliminary market figures in 2013 in the IEA PVPS member countries and many others. It shows that at least 37 GW of PV systems were installed in the world in 2013.

Visit the Snapshot page on this website and find the 2 editions of the report.

Trends in Photovoltaic Applications - 2013 Edition

The new 2013 Edition of the IEA PVPS report Trends in Photovoltaic Applications is now available. This edition browses 20 years of PV installations in the IEA PVPS member countries and many others. Policies to support PV deployment, industry development and the integration of PV in the power sector are analyzed in depth in this report.

Visit the Trends page on this website and find the 18 editions of the report.

Photovoltaic and Solar Forecasting Report

This report provides a snapshot of the state of the art of solar and PV forecasts for time horizons ranging from a few minutes ahead to several days ahead. Diverse resources are used to generate solar and PV forecasts, ranging from measured weather and PV system data to satellite and sky imagery observations of clouds, to numerical weather prediction (NWP) models which form the basis of modern weather forecasting.

The report can be found here.


Rural Electrification with PV Hybrid Systems - 2013 (English / French)

application/pdf  Rural Electrification with PV Hybrid systems - T9 - 11072013 - Updated Feb2014
With decreasing PV prices, PV / diesel hybrid minigrids attract significant attention from institutions in charge of rural electrification and donor agencies - to mitigate fuel price increases, deliver operating cost reductions, and offer higher service quality than traditional single-source generation systems. The combining of technologies provides interesting opportunities to overcome certain technical limitations. Written by Gregoire LENA (IED), this publication aims to present the state of the art situation of PV / diesel hybrid systems for rural electrification and to highlight the main remaining issues – from the design, technical and implementation perspectives.
2014/02/27,  2.1 MB,  Grégoire Lena - IED
application/pdf  Mini-réseaux hybrides PV-diesel pour l'électrification rurale
L’état des lieux de la technologie des systèmes hybrides PV-diesel destinés à l'électrification rurale est présenté et les principaux enjeux actuels – relatifs à la conception, aux aspects techniques et à la mise en oeuvre de ces systèmes – sont abordés et analysés. Des conseils sont formulés à destination des décideurs afin de favoriser une prise de décision éclairée en matière de systèmes photovoltaïques hybrides pour l'électrification rurale. Les spécificités des systèmes hybrides sont explicitées, les marchés et les paramètres technico-économiques pour la planification des projets sont décrits. Enfin, les questions liées à la durabilité des systèmes hybrides et à leur développement effectif sont examinées.
2014/02/27,  2.5 MB,  Grégoire Lena

(New) National Survey Reports 2012

National Survey Reports detail the status of PV incentives, combined with market and industry development in 2012 in the IEA-PVPS countries. These NSR, together with the previous editions, can be found here.

These reports are used as a basis for the "Trends on PV application" publication.

Annual Report 2012

application/pdf  Annual Report 2012
IEA PVPS Annual Report 2012
2013/04/30,  3.2 MB,  IEA PVPS

Snapshot of Global PV 1992-2012

application/pdf  PVPS Report - A Snapshot of Global PV - 1992-2012
Preliminary information from the IEA PVPS Programme
2013/05/06,  1.3 MB,  Gaetan Masson

Pico Solar PV Systems for Remote Homes

application/pdf  Pico Solar PV Systems for Remote Homes
A new generation of small PV systems for lighting and communication The concept of pico PV systems and their application in real-world circumstances are explained. The importance of understanding the dynamics of the demand side of this market is clearly elaborated, as are the nature and supply of the products, their economics, and experience with various business models. There are clear lessons for the roles that should be played by governments, donor bodies and others in the markets for pico PV products and services, essentially as providers of appropriate institutional frameworks and information.
2013/05/21,  1.7 MB,  Erik H. Lysen (IEA PVPS Task 9)

Energy from the Desert - 2013 Edition

application/pdf  Energy from the desert
Summary Very Large Scale Photovoltaic Power - State of the Art and Into the Future
2013/04/29,  9.7 MB,  K. Komoto et al