15th May 2020, RENEWABLE MARKET WATCHTM Solar energy is the fastest-growing and lowest cost source globally. In Europe, solar capacity increased by 36 per cent to 8.5GW in 2018. However, 2019 was a huge success for the European solar PV market with a 104 per cent increase of newly installed solar PV capacity (16.7GW) compared to 2018 (8.5GW), according to the Europe Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Power Market Outlook: 2020 ÷ 2030. Cumulative installed solar capacity in Europe reached 131.9GW by the end of 2019, which is 14 per cent increase compared to 115.2GW at the end of 2018. Spain was the largest market in 2019, adding 4.7GW, followed by Germany (4GW), the Netherlands (2.5GW), France (1.1GW), and Poland, which nearly quadrupled its installation capacity to 784MW. By the end of 2020, several member states in the European Union have to speed up to meet their 2020 renewable energy targets. Furthermore, Renewable Market Watch™ expects countries such as Spain, France, and Italy shall take their place at the GW-scale annual installation level. Most of the countries in Europe agree with the new 32% EU 2030 renewables target. The ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’ package gives the solar sector a solid policy framework that paves the way for much more versatile, low-cost solar investments in Europe. The European Green Deal is the new roadmap for making the EU’s economy sustainable. This will happen by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas and making the transition just and inclusive for all.
There has been a huge spike in demand for solar power all over the world. Especially, the governments in European countries are supporting with clean energy-friendly policy, increasing credit availability, and offering financial incentives, reported the Renewable Market Watch™. More European countries have made long-term plans to develop solar plants with significant capacities, which will consolidate the continent’s position as a dominating force in solar energy.
Solar Resource Potential of Europe Geographically, all European countries are suitable for the production of solar photovoltaic energy throughout the whole year. The solar radiation potential on the European territory is considerable despite the large differences in the sunlight intensity between the various countries. Due to the geographical location, the solar energy potential of Southern Europe is higher than in Northern Europe. The average annual sunshine duration is roughly 2,130 hours, and the average solar radiation resource is between 1,080 kWh/m2 and 2,200 kWh/m2.
Reduced solar power in the northern part of the Scandinavian countries is largely attributed to shallow solar irradiation values during the cold season. However, during the warm season, solar power is available everywhere—even in the northern part of the Scandinavian countries.
Iberdrola group, through its subsidiary in Spain, has built- n Badajoz the Núñez de Balboa photovoltaic plant, which, with 500MWp of installed capacity and the ability to supply clean energy to 250,000 people, has become the largest in Europe. On 6th of April 2020, the first MWh of clean energy generated by the project was injected into Spain’s power grid. Iberdrola took a decisive step towards photovoltaic energy with the commissioning of the Núñez de Balboa photovoltaic plant in Usagre (Badajoz), the biggest in Europe. With an installed capacity of 500MWp (391MW of maximum grid connection capacity), the plant will supply clean energy to 250,000 people, more than the population of Cáceres and Badajoz put together, avoiding the emission into the atmosphere of 215,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. The construction of this project has injected life into the local industrial fabric and created local jobs, with purchases worth €227M from some 30 suppliers, who have participated in the construction, supply of photovoltaic modules, the fixed structure, inverters, transformers, and the civil works and engineering of the electrical lines and substation. The works have created the record number of more than 1,200 jobs, 70 % for Extremadura workers.
ConclusionsThe low cost of solar is now starting to attract many European countries, including those that haven’t been active in the past few years. Many countries in Europe have started tender (auction) schemes to control costs and the installed capacity of solar power projects. These tenders have played a key role in reducing solar power prices and proved their effectiveness in solar PV sector development. Several EU member states have already committed to 100% renewable power or zero-carbon power targets, while the EU is discussing the adoption of a zero-emissions target by 2050.Furthermore, over 90 per cent of the rooftops in Europe are unused. These rooftops present an incredible opportunity to generate electricity equal to around 25 per cent of the EU’s electricity demand. The solar power market in Europe shall be affected by the COVID-19 post, but on the other hand, solar energy could help overcome the current financial crisis due to the virus outbreak. Renewable Market Watch™ is closely monitoring the latest updates concerning the spread of COVID-19 and its current and potential impact on the European solar photovoltaic sector and regularly update the following market report.