• NECPs submitted by EU member states put the region on course to achieve 209 GW additional capacity by 2030
  • SPE believes the current targets and policies do not exploit the full potential of solar PV technology in the region
  • Increased investments and stable, friendly regulatory environment is a must to ensure continued investments in the technology to generate jobs
  • It would also help to have all member nations to have clearly defined roadmap and targets for solar PV related policies

By 2030, the Europan Union (EU) has committed to add 209 GW of additional solar PV capacity under pledges made under the member states’ National Energy and Climate Plans (NECP). This should translate into 19 GW annual capacity additions of all 27 EU member states in this decade.

It should lead to exceeding the current 32% renewable energy target for 2030 to rest somewhere between 33.1% to 33.7% by 2030.

However, basis the assessment of these 27 NECPs across 7 different areas with potential for solar PV deployment, European solar PV lobby association SolarPower Europe (SPE) believes in its updated Medium Scenario, presented at last week’s SolarPower Summit, close to 24 GW annual additions can be expected by member states in Europe by 2024 as it noted in its Global Market Outlook (see SolarPower Europe Lowers 2020 PV Guidance To 112 GW). Solarpower Europe believes annual installations will increase to 30 GW in 2024 in EU 27.

SPE provides its assessment of existing NECPs through an interactive map available on its website. Among good practices from EU countries, basis their NECP targteting 2030, SPE counts Luxembourg’s 1 GW installation target; 27 GW for the Netherlands including 10 TWh small-scale renewables generation target; and 100% renewable energy sourced electricity for Denmark meaning 6.4 GW through 2030.

Analysis of various NECPs show, according to SPE, that along with wind energy solar will continue to be the most-installed energy generation technology in Europe between 2020 and 2030. However, the full potential for solar in Europe is yet to be reached. It would need increased investments to ‘unleash solar’ on a larger scale.

SPE believes a strong regulatory framework is a must for solar power development in the region since it provides visibility to investors. This could lead to unlocking half a million jobs by 2030, most of which would be in the labour-intensive rooftop PV segment. This will invariably accelerate manufacturing activities across the value chain.

“While the final NECPs show that EU member states are moving in the right direction to meet renewable energy targets, our analysis shows that many plans do not provide enough information on regulatory frameworks. Among the key issues identified by SolarPower Europe include the lack of visibility on solar auctions, an enabling framework for prosumers, and the absence of measures to simplify administrative procedures such as the bottleneck on permitting,” said SPE Policy Analyst Raffaele Rossi.

Italy and Germany beat their counterparts in terms of transparency related to their auction systems, even Portugal provides a good enough timeline for interested parties to prepare for the auctions. Having said that, SPE found 9 nations not having detailed any information about solar auctions in their NECPs.

By June 2021, the European Commission plans to bring in legislative proposals to increase EU’s 32% renewable energy target by 2030, to up to 38% to 40%. About this development, SPE Policy Director Aurelie Beauvais said last month, “The lack of carbon pricing in the building and the transport sector was a missing link of Europe’s climate strategy, to encourage electrification and increase the use of solar electricity in these sectors. The European Commission confirmed that it will address this gap and review the EU ETS regulations and Energy Taxation Directive to establish a level playing field between renewables and fossil fuels.”