While PV in Europe as a whole grew by 28% YoY in 2017, the 28 EU member states reported only a 6% improvement on newly installed capacity last year. (Source: SolarPowerEurope)
- Europe collectively reported 8.61 GW of new PV installations in 2017
- This is a 28% growth compared to 2016
- Turkey was the leading nation with 1.79 GW added, although with the final tally coming in Germany could beat it to be the top performer; as of now Germany is close second with 1.75 GW
- France and the Netherlands were supported well by their governments installing 887 MW and 853 MW, respectively
The year 2017 was a good one for Europe in terms of its installed PV capacity. According to first estimates from SolarPower Europe, all European nations collectively installed at least 8.61 GW of new PV last year, improving 28% compared to 6.72 GW added in 2016. From 2015 to 2016, European market growth was negative, demand shrank by 20%.
The association representing solar power sector in the continent, says European Union (EU) member states grew by around only 6% to 6.03 GW in 2017 from 5.69 GW in 2016.
“”Solar in Europe is growing, this is good news for the energy transition,” said James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe. Adding, “Now we need the right policies in place to make sure the EU can fully benefit from our clean energy technology. If the trade measures on imported solar panels were removed, according to a DG Justice and Consumers study we could see an increase in solar self-consumption in the EU of around 20-30%. Likewise, if the EU adopted a 35% renewable energy target for 2030, instead of today’s 27%, no less than 120,000 new solar jobs could be created.”
Turkey topped the list with 1.79 GW added. This is a growth rate of 213% YoY. Turkey saw an end-of-year rush with around 800 MW of solar systems either under construction or installed, but which were not fully up and running in 2017. It was followed by Germany, which grew 23% to 1.75 GW (see Germany’s 1.75 GW Of PV In 2017 Misses Target). Together, both these nations accounted for 41% of total market share of Europe in 2017.
However, as the official number for Germany is based on system operators’ registrations with the regulator, which come in sometimes later than the actual installation took place, it is possible that Germany will finally be ranked as the number one in Europe.
Pushed by the cut down in solar incentives, the UK saw its installations drop by 54% to around 912 MW, as against 1.97 GW in 2016 and 4.1 GW in 2015. Two markets that show promise for the future were France and the Netherlands. France ended 2017 with 887 MW and the Netherlands added 853 MW (see Netherlands Installed 853 MW PV In 2017). Even though Spain added only 135 MW of new PV last year, it was a huge jump of 145% over the previous year (see Spain Added 135 MW Of PV In 2017).
“We are expecting strong growth in the coming years as several EU member states are choosing solar to meet their national binding 2020 renewables targets. This makes perfect sense as solar is the most popular energy source among EU citizens, due to its low-cost, versatility and reliability,” said Michael Schmela, Executive Advisor and Head of Market Intelligence at SolarPower Europe.
In its annually published 5-Year Global Market Outlook, which was released in May 2017 for the last time, SolarPower Europe had forecasted a 31% growth for Europe in 2017, 24% for 2018 and 18% for 2019. Recently, the association had updated its global market outlook based on its Q3 numbers to nearly 120 GW for 2019 and over 130 GW for 2020 (see SolarPower Europe Ups Global PV Forecast).