EPIA: Solar power to become major European player by 2020

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A new report published by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association states that the solar power generation industry is well on its way to becoming a competitive supplier of energy to the European market. The ‘SET For 2020’ study outlines the potential for the industry that will, under typical conditions, supply between 4 and 6% of Europe’s energy needs, but has potential to cover 12% of Europe’s entire energy needs by 2020.

A potential rise from approximately 1% (currently) to 12% of Europe’s electricity needs covered by solar energy would only come about under certain conditions, according to the EPIA report. More favourable conditions could increase the uptake of photovoltaic power and make it a real runner in Europe’s energy supply in the future.

“Photovoltaic electricity generation will already be competitive in parts of southern Europe by next year,” said Dr. Winfried Hoffmann, EPIA president. “The study shows that under the 12% scenario, photovoltaic electricity will be competitive with other power sources in as much as 75% of the EU electricity market by 2020, without any form of external price support or subsidy.”

As the fastest-growing renewable energy source, the solar sector is preparing for costs to dip faster than those of other electricity sources – up to about an 8% per annum drop in cost, according to the EPIA report.

Reaching a 12% market share would see PV providing a sizeable share of the 1,244TWh gap that will develop in the market by 2020.

“Europe now needs to recognise the important role photovoltaic power can play in meeting its energy sustainability goals,” said Adel El Gammal, EPIA secretary general. “The photovoltaic industry is committed to delivering energy technology that is sustainable and competitive on a large scale. We are calling on political and regulatory decision makers and on the energy sector to support photovoltaic deployment without delay.”

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