BOULDER, Colo. — As small renewable energy systems are increasingly deployed at the sub-utility scale, distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are expected to continue to be the leading form of renewable distributed energy generation installations. The distributed solar PV market is dominated by residential and commercial grid-connected PV systems as the installed price of solar energy continues to fall and end-user demand rises. According to a new report from Pike Research, a variety of market conditions will continue to drive growth in the worldwide distributed solar energy market, which the firm forecasts will increase from approximately $66 billion in 2010 to more than $154 billion annually by 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18 percent. During that period, the firm anticipates that total installed capacity of distributed PV will rise from 9.5 gigawatts (GW) to more than 15 GW.

“Consumer and commercial demand for distributed solar systems is growing as the cost of PV modules has continued its steady descent,” said senior analyst Peter Asmus. “Combined with innovative financing and leasing options, third-party and utility ownership models, and highly-effective feed-in-tariff programs, solar PV is expanding faster than most expected.”

Asmus added that demand for such systems is concentrated in regions with favorable financial incentives, including the United States (led by California) and Canada (led by Ontario). Pike Research’s analysis indicates that Europe will continue to be the largest market for distributed solar PV over the next several years, but China and India’s growing economies and high percentages of population without access to reliable electricity represent large market opportunities.

“Today’s solar PV market is all about cost,” said Asmus, “which is good for consumers and installers, but brutal for manufacturers. We expect that costs will continue their rapid decline as Chinese crystalline silicon manufacturers gain market share and efficiency continues to increase for thin-film technologies.”

Publication date: 11/21/2011