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EPIA report: PV set to "join mainstream by 2020"

Photovoltaic (PV) solar electricity is poised to become a significant and competitive supplier to the European electricity market, concludes a study conducted by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) with the strategic management consultancy A.T. Kearney.

The SET For 2020 study explores different deployment scenarios: Under business-as-usual conditions, PV power should supply between 4% and 6% of Europeans’ electricity needs by 2020.

However, PV power could supply as much as 12% of EU electricity demand by 2020 – up from less than 1% at present – if more favourable conditions are established by European policy makers, regulators and the energy sector at large.

“Photovoltaic electricity generation will already be competitive in parts of southern Europe by next year,” said Dr. Winfried Hoffmann, EPIA president. “The study shows that under the 12% scenario, photovoltaic electricity will be competitive with other power sources in as much as 75% of the EU electricity market by 2020, without any form of external price support or subsidy.”

As the fastest-growing renewable energy source, the solar sector is preparing for costs to dip faster than those of other electricity sources – up to about an 8% per annum drop in cost, according to the EPIA report.

Reaching a 12% market share would see PV providing a sizeable share of the 1,244TWh gap that will develop in the market by 2020.

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