Solar power ready to dominate the consumer energy market

Solar Electricity has potential to supply over 2 billion people in 2025.

Dresden, 6 September 2006: Solar power can deliver electricity to more than 2 billion people, provide over 2 million jobs with an annual investment of 113 billion Euros by 2025, reveals a joint report, 'SolarGeneration', released today by Greenpeace International and the European Photovoltaic Industry Association. The market report also explains that 350 million tonnes of CO2 emissions would be cut - the equivalent amount from 140 coal power stations and by 2040, solar electricity could provide over 16% of the global demand.

"Solar energy is on the brink of leading the highly competitive consumer energy market, therefore the industry must invest further now in mass production to bring the costs down," said Teske. "The next two years are crucial for solar electricity to move out of the niche market and into mainstream energy production where it belongs. For the expansion of solar power to be successful, commitment from not only the industry but also Governments must play their part in the energy revolution. The industry is ready - where are the Governments?"

In 2005 the total installed capacity of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems around the world passed the landmark figure of 5000MW (= 10 average size coal power plants). Global shipments of PV cells and modules have been growing at an average annual rate of more than 40% for the past few years. Such has been the growth in the solar electricity industry that business only of the European PV industry in 2005 was worth more than 5 billion; on a global scale the industry's turnover was approximately 10 billion.

"In 2006 the solar industry will invest well over 1 billion Euros along the whole value chain in new solar factories and R&D in order to increase the economy of scale and to lower the costs for solar photovoltaic systems," said Dr. Winfried Hoffmann, President of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association and member of the managing committee of SCHOTT Solar. "The global photovoltaic industry is ready to invest even more for years to come, but there must be a stable political framework for the next ten years to enable this investment to pay off."

Greenpeace International and the European Photovoltaic Industry Association are urging Governments to secure those investments with support programmes. The most successful scheme is a "feed-in tariff" which guarantees a specific price for each Kilowatt-hour fed into the grid. The "feed-in policy" has already been introduced in 41 countries, states and provinces enabling consumers to operate a solar system on their rooftop economically. In addition legally binding targets for the share of renewable energy in the EU for 2015 and 2020 are urgently needed.

Competition among the major manufacturers has become increasingly intense, with new players entering the market as the potential for PV opens up. The worldwide photovoltaic industry, particularly in Europe and Japan, is investing heavily in new production facilities and technologies. At the same time, political support for the development of solar electricity has led to far-reaching promotion frameworks being put in place in a number of countries, notably Germany, Japan, the US and China.

"The best protection against escalating electricity prices is installing your own solar modules on your roof," said Teske. "'Distributed energy' from solar panels will save billions of tonnes of CO2 emissions and guarantee stable electricity prices for families around the world. The day you install a solar generator on your roof, is independence day from your energy bill."

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and Greenpeace have produced this third edition of Solar Generation to update our understanding of the contribution that solar power can make to the world's energy supply. This joint initiative adopted the title 'SolarGeneration' because it aims to define the role that solar electricity will play in the lives of a population born today and developing into an important energy consumption group.

The report is available for download on

For further information please contact:

Sven Teske, Greenpeace International, +49 171 878 7552
Mhairi Dunlop, Greenpeace International Communications, +44 7801 212 960
Marie Latour, EPIA, +32 485 154 782

Advice and contacts for installing solar panels can be found on

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