Solar power is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the global energy market. The growth of solar since 2009 has been impressive. In 2009, the global solar PV market totaled 7.2 gigawatts (GW). In 2011 installed global solar capacity reached 62 GW. By the end of 2012, a landmark was reached as the world’s cumulative solar electricity surpassed 100 GW.



With state subsidies and feed-in tariffs for solar electricity on the decline, producing solar electricity forthe purpose of self consumption is on the rise, contributing to the profitability and energy independence of families and businesses worldwide. Learn more about self consumption and how REC is a thought leader in this emerging market trend in our whitepaper.


With further cost decreases combined with economic subsidies, solar power has become economically attractive for grid-connected private homes and offices. Today, grid-connected solar power is by far the largest and fastest growing segment. The three key market sub-segments are: residential, commercial and power plants/utilities.


More and more homeowners see solar as a smart investment that can allow them to become energy independent and add value to their property. The residential segment represented 7.8 MW in 2011 from all global installations. Its growth is predicted to approximately 15.8 GW in 2016 according to IHS.


Investing in an energy source that allows companies to take the environmental path, contribute to generate profit or feed production activities, are among the main reasons that have contributed to the increase of the commercial segment. This segment represented around 10 MW in 2011 from all global installations. Its growth is predicted to approximately 17 GW in 2016 according to IHS.

Power Plants

An increasing number of industrial stakeholders are taking a progressive power position, investing in one of the oldest natural resources in order to secure solid returns and new opportunities. The largest segment among grid-connected installations, has seen an impressive growth since 2011. According to IHS, from 10 MW in 2011 from all global installations, it is predicted to more than double in 2016 to reach approximately 25 GW.


The first commercial use of solar cells was for powering satellites in the 1960s. With decreasing cost, solar energy systems have become an attractive alternative energy source in areas outside established electricity grids. Private homes and cabins, lighthouses, remote pumping stations and telecom network installations are examples of beneficial off-grid solar installations.