• Estimated solar PV addition in Europe in 2018 grew to 11 GW, an improvement of around 20% over 2017 numbers, according to SolarPower Europe
  • The 28 nations in the European Union installed 8 GW in 2018, that's 36% more PV YoY
  • Germany was the leader of the pack in 2018, followed by Turkey and the Netherlands
  • As several developers pushed their project completions to 2019 due to a sudden module shortage owing to a sudden demand pull from China in Q4, SPE expects 2019 growth to even higher than originally anticipated

New solar installations of 11 GW in Europe in 2018 registered an increase of around 20%, compared to 9.2 GW installed a year before, according to the on-grid installations and official data from government agencies collated by European solar lobby association, SolarPower Europe (SPE). The European Union (EU) member nations alone installed around 8 GW of new system capacity in 2018, growing 36% over 5.9 GW connected to the grid in 2017.

These numbers could change once complete data for Q4/2018 is available, SPE added.

Germany with its 2.96 GW of annual installations led the European market with 68% more capacity added to the grid compared to 1.76 GW in 2017 (see Germany Installed Close To 3 GW Solar In 2018). The second biggest European market in 2018 was Turkey that installed 1.64 GW, a reduction of 37% from previous year. The Netherlands, ranked third, entered the ‘solar GW club’ for the first time. According to SPE, the Netherlands installed around 1.4 GW in 2018 (see Netherlands Installed 1.33 GW Solar In 2018). SPE called the Netherlands a rising solar star being the first time among Europe’s top 3 solar markets.

solarpower europe graph2

Executive Advisor and Head of Market Intelligence at SPE, Michael Schmela believes the EU-28 could have fared even better if it was not for the supply shortage of high-quality panels in the region, owing to a sudden demand pull from China in Q4. This forced some developers to push their project completion to 2019, which means this year could be an ‘even better year for solar in Europe.’

The EU has done its homework – by removing the trade measures on solar panels and ensuring a highly positive framework for solar through the Clean Energy Package legislation, the stage is set for significant solar growth. Now it is important that EU member states enforce the right national climate and energy plans to sustain this solar boom,” said Aurélie Beauvais, Policy Director of SPE.

However, SPE’s new CEO Walburga Hemetsberger is upbeat about solar’s future in Europe. “With solar being the most popular energy source among EU citizens, the most versatile and often also the lowest cost power generation source, and with cost reductions continuing, we are only at the beginning of a long upward trend for solar in Europe,” she said.

SPE will publish more details on national European installations and global solar additions in 2018 during its SolarPower Summit in Brussels on March 6/7, 2019. In its annually published Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2019 to be released during Intersolar Europe Trade fair in Munich in May 2019, SPE will publish its 5-year solar demand forecast.