New Energy Finance estimates 26.5-29.3 GW of PV installed in 2011

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF, New York, New York, U.S.) has revealed preliminary estimates for 2011 solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, calculating that a global aggregate capacity of between 26.5 and 29.3 GW of PV was installed during the year.

BNEF notes that it has not yet released official 2011 estimates. However, its unofficial numbers contain some surprises, including an estimated 7.5 to 7.7 MW of installed PV in Italy in 2011, a greater capacity than is reported from Germany for the year.

Following Italy and Germany, BNEF puts China as the world's third largest PV market in 2011 at 2.2 GW installed, a figure released by the nation's National Development and Reform Commission. This number represents a dramatic increase over the nation's 2010 PV market.

BNEF states that it is still unsure if France or the United States will take fourth place in 2011, with an estimated 1.5 to 1.7 GW installed in the United States, and 1.3 to 1.8 GW in France. Chase admits that BNEF's view of the French market is still quite cloudy, citing a lack of organization in official French data.

The company also notes that while India's MNRE has stated that 180 MW was connected to the grid in 2011, it believes that between 200 and 375 MW were installed in the nation by the end of the year, citing delays between installation and commissioning.