• SolarPower Europe’ has published its first EU Market Outlook for Solar Power, highlighting that 2019 was one of the best solar years on record for the European Union
  • The region installed 16.7 GW in 2019, representing a 104% YoY increase
  • Solar capacity installed more new capacity than any other power generation technology in 2019
  • Spain is estimated to be Europe’s largest solar market adding around 4.7 GW

SolarPower Europe has published its first EU Market Outlook for Solar Power, highlighting that 2019 was one of the best solar years on record for the European Union. The region installed 16.7 GW, representing a 104% increase over the 8.2 GW added in 2018, according to preliminary estimates. This makes 2019 the strongest growth year for solar in the EU-28 since 2010, said SolarPower Europe.

In 2019, Spain was Europe’s largest solar market, adding 4.7 GW; Spain has not held this achievement since 2008. Rounding out the top solar markets for 2019 were Germany (4 GW), the Netherlands (2.5 GW), France (1.1 GW), and Poland, which nearly quadrupled its installed capacities to 784 MW. This trend of increased solar installations was noted across the entire EU, with 26 of the 28 member states installing more solar in 2019 than the year before. By the end of 2019, the EU will enjoy a total of 131.9 GW, which represents a 14% increase over the 115.2 GW operating the year before.

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, said: “Solar in the European Union is thriving. We have entered a new era of solar growth, with more new solar capacity installed than any other power generation technology in 2019. This boom in installations demonstrates that solar in Europe is on the right track, and with bold climate leadership from the new Commission, solar can help make the European Green Deal a reality.”

Aurélie Beauvais, Policy Director of SolarPower Europe, added: “There are several reasons to explain the growth of solar in Europe. Primarily, this increased demand can be attributed to solar’s cost-competitiveness – it is often the cheapest power generation source – as well as the approaching deadline for member states to meet their binding national 2020 renewable energy targets. EU countries have also begun to prepare for their road to compliance with the Commission’s Clean Energy Package, which sets a 32% renewables target by 2030, where many national governments are increasingly looking to low-cost solar to meet their targets.”

Michael Schmela, Executive Advisor and Head of Market Intelligence at SolarPower Europe, said: “With solar being the most popular energy source among EU citizens, as well as the most versatile, and with price reductions continuing, we are only at the beginning of a long upward trend for solar in Europe. In terms of medium-term projections, we expect continued growth for the EU-block with a 26% increase in 2020 bringing demand to 21 GW, and installations on track to reach 21.9 GW in 2021. The record-breaking year is expected to be 2022, with an anticipated all-time high of 24.3 GW of installations, and again in 2023 with 26.8 GW of newly-installed solar capacity. The coming years are looking truly phenomenal for solar deployment in Europe.”


Preliminary data 

SolarPower Europe says the 2019 solar installation data for EU-28 are first estimates that are based on official data from the first three quarters of 2019 from government agencies whenever possible. If such information was not available from primary sources, SolarPower Europe has gathered data mostly through its members, comprising national solar associations. As complete data for 2019 will only be made available by national entities responsible for solar statistics in the coming months, the actual installation numbers ‘might differ from this first estimate,’ the solar association said. While the 2019 data is new, the forecast data for 2020-2023 is based on analysis from the Global Market Outlook 2019-2023 published in May. SolarPower Europe says that the final 2019 numbers and a new 5-year solar demand forecast will be published in its ‘Global Market Outlook For Solar Power 2020 – 2024’, which will be launched at the Intersolar Europe trade fair in Munich in June 2020.