Figures show that solar module installations enjoyed a boom between 2006 and 2011, from around 1.4 GW in 29 GW respectively, but last year the sector nudged up to 30.25 GW of installed power.
And this year installations are forecast to fall to 25.4 GW, due to reduced government support in several countries, such as Spain, Italy and Germany.
However the report from research and consulting firm GlobalData forecasts from 2014 onward, annual additions are expected to remain stable until 2020.
The analysis found that Germany was the largest consumer of solar modules in 2012, with annual installations of 7.6 GW, followed by China with 5 GW.
China also continued to be the largest manufacturer of solar modules in the world, boasting 66 per cent of total global production in 2012.
Harsha Nagatham, GlobalData’s alternative energy analyst, said: “With domestically available polysilicon, a favourable regulatory environment and an easily available inexpensive labour force, companies such as Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, LDK Solar and Jinko Solar have been leading solar module manufacturing with annual production capacities of over 1000 MW each.”
GlobalData also states that the cost of solar PV modules has dropped drastically since 2006, when the average price was $3.8/W. In 2012, the price of a module was $0.91/W, and it is expected to fall further over the coming years, reaching $0.25/W in 2020.
“Solar PV is the third-largest deployed renewable technology in terms of installed capacity after hydro and wind,” said Nagatham. “Emerging countries in the regions of Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa are expected to be the major markets in the future due to an increasing focus on green energy to help fuel economic growth.”