Global production of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells increased 51 percent in 2007, to 3,733 megawatts, according to the latest Vital Signs Update from the Worldwatch Institute, produced in collaboration with the Prometheus Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
More than 2,935 megawatts (MW) of solar modules were installed in 2007, according to early estimates, bringing cumulative global installations of PVs since 1996 to more than 9,740 MW-enough to meet the annual electricity demand of more than 3 million homes in Europe.
“Thanks to strong, smart policies in countries like Germany and Spain, the PV industry is making great strides in efficiency and cost, bringing solar power closer to price parity with fossil fuels,” says Janet Sawin, Worldwatch Senior Researcher and author of the update.
Over the past year, Europe-led by Germany-surpassed Japan to lead the world in solar cell manufacturing, producing an estimated 1,063 MW in 2007. Thanks to government policies that guarantee high payments for solar power fed into the electric grid, Germany remains the world leader in solar PV installations, accounting for almost half the world total in 2007. About 40,000 people are now employed in the PV industry in Germany.
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