Photovoltaic power poised to become mainstream source of energy in all Sunbelt countries by 2030

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) concluded its study on Sunbelt solar photovoltaics (PV) opportunities, “Unlocking the Sunbelt potential of photovoltaics.” Sunbelt countries have geographical and economical draws for mainstream solar PV implementation.

(October 22, 2010) — The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) concluded its study on Sunbelt solar photovoltaics (PV) opportunities, “Unlocking the Sunbelt potential of photovoltaics.” Countries of the Sunbelt (located within ±35° latitude around the equator) represent about 75% of the world population and 40% of the global electricity demand. Furthermore, about 80% of the forecasted growth of the world electricity demand in the coming 20 years will originate from fast-developing economies in this region. Characterized by an intense solar irradiation and often high electricity prices, countries of the Sunbelt, where photovoltaic energy has a unique competitive potential, constitute an immense opportunity for PV to become mainstream by 2020 and a major electricity source by 2030.

“Unlocking the Sunbelt potential of photovoltaics” analyzes 66 out of the 148 countries in the Sunbelt, representing over 5 billion inhabitants and 95% of the region’s total population. Despite the exceptional solar irradiation registered in these countries, at present they represent only 9% of the global installed PV capacity.

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The study shows that the PV potential of the Sunbelt countries could range, depending on the scenario, from 60 to 250 GW by 2020, and from 260 to 1,100 GW in 2030, representing 27-58% of the forecasted global installed PV capacity by then. Under these three potential scenarios (base, advanced and paradigm shift) and through the global scale effect, prices of PV systems by 2030 are expected to decrease by up to 66% compared to their current levels. PV electricity, already competitive today with some peak generation technologies in a number of countries, would see its generation costs dropping to a range of 6 to 12 €c / kWh by 2020, making it highly competitive with all peak generation technologies, and as low as 4 to 8 €c/kWh in 2030, making it also widely competitive with most mid-load generation technologies. PV will therefore represent a highly competitive alternative for new generation capacity as well as a replacement for existing ones.

In addition to providing a detailed economic analysis supporting the various deployment scenarios, the study also presents regional perspectives in four geographical areas: Mediterranean & Northern Africa, South East Asia, China & India, and Latin America. A series of recommendations to enable the realization of the Sunbelt PV potential will also be put forward.

*This study was done in collaboration with the strategic management consultancy A.T. Kearney, and with the support of the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) and the Asociación de la IndustriaFotovoltaica (ASIF).
The European Photovoltaic Industry Association covers silicon, cells and module production to systems development and PV electricity generation as well as marketing and sales. Learn more at

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