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Evolution of Photovoltaic. Worldwide technologies potential

First cell ware researched in the 1880s, but modern silicon solar cell ware constructed in 1954. These early solar cells cost 286 USD/watt and reached efficiencies of just 4.5–6%. Primarily it has been used to power domestic electric applications, from the calculators, watches to homes off-grid small and medium-sized systems. The earliest significant application of solar cells was as a back-up power source to the satellites in 1958, which allowed it to continue transmitting for over a year after its chemical battery was exhausted. Photovoltaics went on to play an essential part in the success of early satellites and remain vital to the supply of energy for space craft’s today.
The 1973 oil crisis stimulated a rapid rise in the production of PV (from 1984 through 1996 production approximately growth - 15% per year) and improvements in system performance brought the price of factory-gate modules down. Prices has dropped from 100 USD/watt in 1971 to 7 USD/watt in 1985, 3,7 USD/watt in 2007 and supposed to be reduced until approximately – one USD per watt in 2012. Average installation price of photovoltaic systems in 2008 was received 8-11 USD/watt.
Essential development of PV efficiency, production capacity and volume as well as decreasing prices has been coming since a last decade. Since 2003, the solar power sector continues its rapid ascent. In volume terms, the global sector grows from 3.9GW of cell/module production in 2007, to more than 7GW in 2008, expected 14.7GW in 2009 and at least 52GW by 2012. Regarding several sources, in December 2007 were estimated added global installed solar PV capacity of 3,8GW and global cumulative PV capacity reached 10,5 GW (7,8 GW of them are grid-connected). Solar photovoltaics (PV) continue to be the fastest-growing power generation technology in the world, with 50 percent annual increases in cumulative installed capacity in both 2006 and 2007. In the end of 2010 global cumulative installed PV capacity forecasted - 23.3 GW

  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Cells/modules production (GW) 2.6 3.9 7.1 14.7 28.8 40.9 52.3
Production growth (%) 58% 50% 82% 107% 96% 42% 28%
Average factory-gate module price ($/Wp) $4.01 $3.78 $3.98 $3.55 $3.17 $2.91 $2.66
Factory-gate module price growth (%) 15% -6% 5% -11% -11% -8% -8%
Average wholesale module price ($/Wp) $4.21 $3.97 $4.18 $3.73 $3.33 $3.06 $2.80
Worldwide PV sector Revenue pool ($bn) $17.9 $26.6 $50.7 $96.0 $170.5 $228.3 $274.4

Source: PHOTON Consulting - Solar Annual 2008. Note: All data are rough estimates. *Average price estimates for 2006 do not include thin-films.

Since the mid-1990s, leadership in the PV sector has shifted from the US to Japan and Germany. Between 1992 and 1994, Japan increased R&D funding, established net metering * guidelines, and introduced a subsidy program to encourage the installation of residential PV systems. As a result, PV installations in the country climbed from 31.2 MW in 1994 to 318 MW in 1999.
Later Germany has become the leading PV market worldwide since revising its Feed-in tariff system as part of the Renewable Energy Sources Act. Installed PV capacity has risen from 100 MW in 2000 to approximately 4,150 MW at the end of 2007. Germany accounted for half the Grid-connected global market in 2006, with about 850–1,000 GW added annually.
Spain has become the third largest PV market after adopting a similar feed-in tariff structure in 2004, while France, Italy, South Korea and the US have seen rapid growth recently due to various incentive programs and local market conditions.


* Net Metering is generally a consumer-based renewable energy incentive. While it is important to have Net Metering available for any consumer that interconnects their renewable generator to the grid, this form of renewable incentive places the burdens of pioneering renewable energy primarily upon fragmented consumers. Often over-burdened energy agencies are not providing incentives on a consistent basis and it is difficult for individuals to negotiate with large institutions to recover their Net Metering credits and/or rebates for using renewable energy. Under net metering, a system owner receives retail credit for at least a portion of the electricity they generate. The ideal has your existing electricity meter spinning backwards, effectively banking excess electricity production for future credit.
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