The momentum extends all across the bloc. Credit: SolarPower Europe / EU Market Outlook for Solar Power.
The EU’s solar market doubled in 2019 with 16.7GW of deployment, up 104% on the 8.2GW installed in 2018, according to a report by the association SolarPower Europe.
The trend of growth extends all across the bloc, with 26 out of 28 EU nations deploying more solar than the year before, said SPE’s first 'EU Market Outlook for Solar Power'.
Spain leads the way with 4.7GW in 2019, the first time it has held this pole position since 2008, more than a decade ago.
The top markets were:
- Spain (4.7GW)
- Germany (4GW)
- The Netherlands (2.5 GW)
- France (1.1GW)
- Poland (784MW)
Spain has entered a new era and with unmatched solar resources and a change in political will. Germany has continued strong demand forecasts with a new installation target for 2030. The Netherlands was described as having no signs of fatigue. France is set to become an annual multiple gigawatt-scale market. Meanwhile, Poland, whose capacity quadrupled this year, is also seen as a bright spot.
By the end of this year, the EU is set to have reached 131.9GW of cumulative installed PV capacity, a growth of 14% over the 115.2GW operating in 2018.
Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SPE, said: “Solar in the European Union is thriving. We have entered a new era of solar growth, with more new solar capacity installed than any other power generation technology in 2019.”
Increased demand is partly the result of solar’s cost-competitiveness, said Aurélie Beauvais, policy director of SPE, but the binding national 2020 renewable energy targets for EU countries are also a key driver. Countries also now have their eye further ahead on compliance with the European Commission’s Clean Energy Package, which sets a 32% renewables target by 2030.
The 2019 ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ legislative package also contains many pro-solar provisions that will support the dissemination of PV power until 2030. As the most versatile, easy to install and often lowest-cost means of expanding the share of renewables, solar is also the most popular power generation source among European citizens.
Going forward, PV in the EU is expected to grow by 26% in 2020, bringing demand to 21GW, followed by 21.9GW in 2021, 24.3GW in 2022, and 26.8GW in 2023.
SPE said that smarter regulations were required for grid integration in the future.
The business of solar is changing, as the industry scales up, technology, IT and new players to the market will add complexity. This sparks a host of opportunities such as co-location of solar and storage and the rise of unsubsidised solar projects as well as challenges which will question the very business model of European solar asset owners. Solar Finance & Investment Europe is the meeting place for institutional investors, sovereign wealth funds, solar, wind and storage funds and large energy buyers to do business.