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Nameplate capacity in the article is displayed as MW and has to be understood as direct current megawatt-peak (MW At the utility level, wind power competes for new installations, it has a better capacity factor and about four times the 2015 electricity production compared to solar power.For a complete history of deployment over the last two decades, also see section History of deployment.Worldwide growth of photovoltaics has been fitting an exponential curve for more than two decades.

A great untapped potential remains for many of these countries, especially in the Sunbelt.As in the year before, the world's top installer of 2014 were China ( 10.6 GW), followed by Japan ( 9.6 GW) and the United States ( 6.2 GW), while the United Kingdom ( 2.3 GW) emerged as new European leader ahead of Germany ( 1.9 GW) and France ( 0.9 GW).By the end of 2015, cumulative photovoltaic capacity reached at least 227 gigawatts (GW), sufficient to supply 1 percent of global electricity demands.Solar now contributes 8%, 7.4% percent and 7.1 percent to the respective annual domestic consumption in Italy, Greece and Germany.In 2014, Asia was the fastest growing region, with more than 60% of global installations.

China and Japan alone accounted for 20 GW or half of worldwide deployment.As a consequence, cost of solar declined significantly due to improvements in technology and economies of scale, even more so when production of solar cells and modules started to ramp up in China.Since then, deployment of photovoltaics is gaining momentum on a worldwide scale, particularly in Asia but also in North America and other regions, where solar PV is now increasingly competing with conventional energy sources as grid parity has already been reached in about 30 countries.Solar PV now covers 3.5% and 7% of European electricity demand and peak electricity demand, respectively.The Asia-Pacific region (APAC) which includes countries such as Japan, India and Australia, follows second and accounts for about 20% percent of worldwide capacity.Projections for photovoltaic growth are difficult and burdened with many uncertainties.