Europe photovoltaic capacity seen tripled by 2010

MILAN (Reuters) – Installed capacity of photovoltaic systems, which turn sunlight into power, will triple by 2010 to 3 gigawatts (GW) in Europe due to efforts to fight climate change, the sector’s industry association said.

“We would like to go forward to have, in 2010, an installed capacity in Europe in the range of 3 GW, (up) from about 1 GW last year,” Winfried Hoffmann, president of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), said on Monday.

“In the years to come I would hope we would still then have at least 25-30 percent growth,” Hoffmann told reporters on the sidelines of a photovoltaic solar energy conference in Milan.

Europe is the world’s leader in renewable energy, with about half of all photovoltaic output produced there last year. Only 30 percent of solar cells are produced in Europe, while their output in China is growing fast, conference participants said.

Hoffmann dismissed worries that China can fully overtake European solar energy equipment production, which has been automated and thus does not require a lot of costly European labor.

Sunny Italy, which lags behind Europe’s solar energy leader Germany, plans to boost its photovoltaic energy capacity to 3,000 megawatts in 2016 from about 50 MW installed by the end of 2006 thanks to new incentives approved earlier this year.

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