Тhe European Union installed around 8.0 GW of solar power systems in 2018; that is a 36% year-on-year increase over the 5.9 GW connected to the grid in EU-28 in 2017, according to an estimate from SolarPower Europe, the association for the solar power sector in Europe. Solar installations in Europe as a whole grew by around 20% to 11.0 GW in 2018, up from 9.2 GW the year before.
Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe said: “It is good to see Europe fully embracing solar again. 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.”
Aurélie Beauvais, Policy Director of SolarPower Europe commented: “We will see very strong demand for solar in Europe in the next two years. One of the main reasons is the upcoming EU 2020 targets, where many member states will opt for low-cost solar to meet their obligations. Beauvais added: “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.”
Europe’s largest solar market in 2018 was Germany with 2.96 GW of new grid-connected capacity, up 68% from the 1.76 GW installed in 2017. It was followed by Turkey, the reigning European solar market from the previous year, which installed 1.64 GW in 2018, down 37% from the year before, after a decline in demand due to the financial downturn in the country. A rising solar star, the Netherlands ranked as the 3rd largest solar market in 2018. The country added around 1.4 GW compared to 0.77 GW in 2017 and is now entering the ‘solar gigawatt-club’ for the first time.
Michael Schmela, Executive Advisor and Head of Market Intelligence at SolarPower Europe said: “While the EU-28’s 36% solar market growth in 2018 is very impressive, the number could have been even higher. But a sudden demand pull from China at the end of last year led to a supply shortage for high-quality panels in Europe, forcing several developers to delay the completion of projects into 2019. However, the good news is that 2019 will be an even better year for solar in Europe.”
This solar installation data for EU-28 and Europe is an estimate from SolarPower Europe for 2018 solar power on-grid installations and are based on official data from government agencies whenever possible. If such information was not available from primary sources, SolarPower Europe has gathered data mostly through its members, comprising of national solar associations.
As data for Q4/2018 is often not yet completely available or will be updated by national entities responsible for solar statistics in the coming months, the final installation numbers might differ from this estimate. Data for EU-28 includes all European Union member states. Data for Europe includes Belarus, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and others.
The 2018 global solar market numbers with details on individual countries will be published during the SolarPower Summit on 6-7 March 2019 in Brussels. A 5-year solar demand forecast will be published in SolarPower Europe’s ‘Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2019 – 2023’, which will be launched at the Intersolar Europe trade fair in Munich in May 2019.
Strong solar growth in Europe, Germany largest market