European solar optimism

3/7/19, 11:02 AM -

With an optimistic outlook the SolarPower Summit opened in Brussels yesterday. At least 13.5 GW of new PV installations are expected in Europe in 2019.

Panel discussion about the solar market outlook yesterday afternoon at the SolarPower Summit in Brussels.
Panel discussion about the European solar market outlook yesterday afternoon at the SolarPower Summit in Brussels.

Already in 2018 the EU-28 PV market increased by 36% to 8 GW, up from 5,9 GW of newly installed capacity in the previous year according to the latest Global Market outlook at the SolarPower Summit. In an average scenario 13.5 GW of new PV is expected in the EU this year.

EU has set the stage for solar growth

Christian Westermeier, President of SolarPower Europe said: “The state of solar has dramatically improved in the European Union, illustrated by the EU-28 solar market growing at a much higher pace than the global market. The EU has set the stage for solar growth by removing the trade measures on solar panels and providing the right framework for solar to thrive through the Clean Energy Package legislation. Now it’s time to take European solar to the next level by putting in place an industrial competitiveness strategy that will unlock massive investments in the solar sector, create high-tech jobs and provide the most cost-competitive clean power to meet the EU’s energy and climate targets.”

SolarPower Europe’s first market estimates show Germany regaining the number one solar spot in Europe after five years, adding nearly 3 GW in 2018, growing around 68% year-on-year in the EU-28. The Netherlands added 1.4 GW in 2018. France ranked just behind after adding 0.9 GW year-on-year, ahead of Italy with 0.5 GW.

Crucial implementation of renewable goals through the EU Member States

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, commented: “As the lowest cost and most easily deployed clean energy technology, solar in Europe has entered a new growth phase. Now it is key that EU Member States set ambitious national solar targets and develop robust implementation guidelines in their 2030 National Energy and Climate plans.” 17 out of 28 EU Member States have not yet achieved the binding EU 20% renewable energy target by 2020. “That’s a big chance for solar to fill that gap”, Hemetsberger said with regards to the low LCOE of PV.

Hemetsberger sees a big push for distributed solar  through the removal of the “solar tax” for self-consumption by the EU Clean Energy Package and the continued priority dispatch for solar installations below 400 kW. Hemetsberger also stressed on the opportunities of Agro-PV  to allow a dual use of agricultural areas in Europe.

Bloomberg NEF: Even higher growth rate - more than 4 GW PPA projects signed

Pietro Radoia, Solar Analyst at Bloomberg NEF see even a higher European market growth than SolarPower Europe. He forecasts 18 GW of new PV installations in Europe for 2019 with a share of more than 50% utility-scale solar. More than 4.1 GW of subsidy-free solar PPA-projects are signed in Europe, but also state tenders continue to play a major role to drive larger PV installations Radoia stressed. (HCN)

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