By Gaëtan Masson, Business Intelligence Unit, European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA); Marie Latour, Senior National Policy Advisor, European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA)
There has been rapid development of renewables in Europe in the last decade thanks to various support schemes. These are now part of the electricity reality in Europe and will continue driving the energy revolution in the coming years. In the PV sector in particular, feed-in tariffs (FiTs) have proved quite successful: at the beginning of 2010 more than 51GW of PV systems were connected to the grid in the EU, compared to less than 5GW five years earlier. This translates to 2% of the electricity demand being fulfilled by PV systems in the EU27. But all coins are double-sided: FiTs have proved to be too successful in several countries, inducing uncontrolled market development. The time has come to identify how these mechanisms – and in particular support schemes based on pure electricity injection – should evolve in order to manage a sustainable transition to competitiveness.