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recent Eurobarometer survey more than 94 per cent of Europeans supported using solar energy in their countries. But now solar is becoming more than just something people want for the future; it is technology that can provide solutions today. As many countries increase their focus on renewables in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, PV has shown that it is ready to be a mainstream energy source. PV modules have undergone significant price decreases, further increasing their attractiveness to investors and accelerating the technology's drive toward competitiveness with conventional electricity.Over the last decade, PV technology has shown the potential to become a major source of power generation for the world - with robust and continuous growth even during times of economic crisis. That growth is expected to continue in the years ahead as worldwide awareness of the advantages of PV increases. At the end of 2009, the world's cumulative installed PV capacity was approaching 23 GW. One year later it was 40 GW. In 2011, more than 69 GW are installed globally and could produce at least 85 TWh of electricity every year. This energy volume is sufficient to cover the annual power supply needs of over 20 million households.PV is now, after hydro and wind power, the third most important renewable energy in terms of globally installed capacity. The growth rate of PV during 2011 reached almost 70 per cent, an outstanding level among all renewable technologies. For the first time in history, PV in 2011 was the number one electricity source in ? Above: Harnessing the sun's energy, UN Photo/R Kollar" In a recent Eurobarometer survey more than 94 per cent of Europeans supported using solar energy in their countries " renewable energy 059

Europe in terms of added installed capacity, ahead of wind and gas. How much electricity does PV currently provide in Europe? Based on the capacity installed and connected to the grid at the end of 2011, PV can provide roughly 2 per cent of the electricity demand in Europe, up from 1.15 per cent at the end of 2010. In Italy, more than 5 per cent of the electricity will come from PV systems connected until 2011. In Germany, this figure is more than 4 per cent. Spain, Belgium and other countries are progressing rapidly as well. Globally, PV represented at the end of 2011 roughly 0.5 per cent of electricity demand and 1 per cent of the peak power demand. Going forward, PV has the potential to meet 12 per cent of the EU electricity demand by 2020, powering 357 million European homes, providing a reduction of almost 200 million tonnes of CO2 (the equivalent of taking 98 million cars off the road each year) and creating some 350,000 jobs. By 2030, PV could generate 2,600 TWh of electricity globally, satisfying the needs of nearly 14 per cent of the world's population. By 2050, Pictured Above: Building Integrated Photovoltaics - Crystalline silicon technology. Copyright: ENELPictured right: Reinhold Buttgereit060 renewable energy