* 38.4 GW of solar capacity installed in 2013, up 28 pct
* Asia beats Europe as world's largest solar market
* Total global installations stand at 139 GW as per end-2013
By Christoph Steitz
FRANKFURT, June 2 Globally installed solar
capacity will nearly triple over the next four years, boosted by
strong growth in Asia, which dethroned Europe as the world's
biggest solar market last year, according to a major industry
Cumulative photovoltaic installations are seen rising to
about 374 gigawatt (GW) in 2018, compared with 139 GW last year,
the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) said on
Monday in its annual market report.
The figures are based on EPIA's "medium scenario", which it
says depicts the most probable market development until 2018.
Asia is expected to account for more than 40 percent of the
global total in 2018, up from about 29 percent in 2013, while
Europe's share will diminish to about 35 percent, down from last
year's 59 percent.
"Europe's role as the unquestioned leader in the PV market
has come to an end," EPIA said. "For the first time in more than
a decade, the European PV market was no longer the top regional
PV market in the world."
The global shift in demand reflects plunging solar subsidies
in Europe, where years of government support helped the sector
to blossom, while Asian economies, most notably China,
increasingly bank on photovoltaics as an energy source.
In many markets, solar power still needs subsidies to
compete with conventional energy sources, such as coal, gas and
The Brussels-based EPIA groups more than 100 member
companies and institutions, including German players SMA Solar
and SolarWorld as well as U.S.-based First
Solar and Italy's Enel Green Power.
Last year alone, 38.4 GW worth of solar panels were
installed around the globe, up from 30 GW in 2012, making
photovoltaics the third-biggest source of renewables after hydro
and wind power when measures by installed capacity, EPIA said.
China was the single biggest market, installing at least
11.8 GW, or 30.1 percent, while Europe as a whole only
represented 29 percent, down from 74 percent in 2011, the report
Installations in Germany more than halved to 3.3 GW last
year, still making it Europe's biggest market and the world's
fourth-largest. In the past, Germany was seen as the industry's
global growth engine, holding the world's top market position
seven times over the last 14 years.
(Editing by Mark Potter)