challenge of meeting the world's growing electricity demands. Within the Renewable Distributed Energy Generation (RDEG) market, sub-utility scale solar photovoltaics (PV) systems are by far the largest and most significant segment. According to a recent report from Pike Research, the distributed solar energy market is poised for dramatic growth over the next few years, and the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that global installed capacity will approach 2.5 gigawatts by 2012, with annual system revenues surpassing $55 billion.
"Residential and commercial solar energy remains a subsidy-driven market, but we expect the reliance on government and utility incentives to subside over the next several years as cost structures improve with economies of scale," says senior analyst David Link, who authored the report. "The dependence on feed-in tariffs and other incentives will be far lower in Europe within 3-5 years and in the U.S. within 5-10 years."
Distributed solar PV growth has been spearheaded in recent years by markets such as Germany, Japan, Spain, and the United States. Pike Research forecasts that the U.S. will become the largest market for small solar energy installations by 2011, surpassing Germany.
Momentum is also strong in other European countries, and China and India show significant promise in the long term.
Pike Research's study, "Distributed Solar Energy Generation", analyzes the global opportunity for distributed solar PV in the context of the broader RDEG market. The study covers key business issues and drivers of demand, including government-driven legislation and incentives as well as market-based factors. Forecasts include worldwide solar energy generation capacity, system revenues, and installed prices through 2013.