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According to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), worldwide solar generation capacity is expected to jump 200 to 400 percent in the next few years. From a solar conference in Italy, Reuters reports that China, Germany, the United States, and Japan will be leading the rapid expansion through 2016, increasing the total global photovoltaic capacity to between 207.9 gigawatts and 342.8 gigawatts of power. In 2012 alone, the total capacity is projected to rise to between 90 GW and 110 GW, with the majority of that growth occurring in India and China. By 2016, capacity is expected to be rising between 38 GW and 77 GW annually.

In 2011, 75 percent of all new solar system installations were in Europe, with Italy being the fastest growing market in the world that year. But due to economic and political reasons, both Italy and Germany have cut subsidies for solar production in 2012. However, growth in the industry is expected to continue due to emerging markets and new investments in alternative energy. Said EPIA Secretary General Reinhold Buttgereit, “the growth will depend on the support of politicians. It’s not only about money, it’s also about reducing bureaucracy.”

The EPIA is the world’s largest solar industry association, representing 95 percent of the European solar industry and over 80 percent of the industry worldwide. Member companies include those active in silicon, solar cells and module production, system installation, and power generation.