Installations reached a record high of 27.4 gigawatts (GW), up 40 percent from 2010. The solar leaders shifted a bit as Europe’s dominance fell and Asian markets rose rapidly, but growth continued across the board as the PV industry generated $93 billion in global revenues.
The strongest showing came in the second half of the year due to low prices from the over-production of solar cells during the first half. To take advantage of the lowered prices and in anticipation of cuts and uncertainty in tariffs, installations were high through the end of the year to give the numbers an extra kick.
Germany, Italy, and the United States remained in the top five markets for solar from 2010 to 2011, but the other two spots switched as the Czech Republic and Japan were surpassed by France and China. Those top five markets accounted for 74 percent of all global demand.
European countries installed 18.7 GW, but only made up 68 percent of world demand, thanks almost entirely to France, Italy, and Germany’s markets which comprises 82 percent of Europe’s solar.