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European solar market grew by 11% in 2020

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SolarPower Europe has released its latest EU Solar Power Market Outlook, which reveals that amid the setbacks of COVID-19, the European solar market has increased by 11 percent, adding 18.7 GW of installations.

This figure makes 2020 the second-best year ever for solar in the EU, the strongest growth year since 2011.

“It has been a difficult year for all sectors, and so it is very positive to finish 2020 with such a clear endorsement for solar power. Despite the impact of COVID-19, solar has not only grown, it has thrived, proving it to be a resilient, predictable, and secure technology where other energy sources failed. Europe is now on track to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world and solar can help achieve this goal, by not only providing renewable and flexible energy, but also creating millions of jobs and ensuring a just transition for all Europeans.”

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe.

“Solar’s steady growth in Europe is due not only to its cost-competitiveness, although it is often the cheapest power generation technology available, but also due to its scalability and innovation. Beyond installation on rooftops, European-developed applications such as building-integrated PV and Agri-PV, mean that solar can be deployed across all structures and terrains. The technology and potential are there, we now need member states to increase the ambition of their energy and climate plans, and look to low-cost and job-intensive solar as a solution for meeting their targets.”

Aurélie Beauvais, policy director and deputy CEO of SolarPower Europe.

The EU Market Outlook shows that Germany is the largest solar market in 2020, adding 4.8 GW, followed by the Netherlands, which added a capacity of 2.8 GW. Spain, last year’s market leader, added 2.6 GW, with almost 1.5 GW of this coming from PPA-based systems, making it the world’s largest free-to-subsidize solar market. Poland installed 2.2 GW in 2020, more than double its capacity from last year and France rounded out the Top 5 by adding 945 MW to the 10 GW total capacity threshold.

The total installed solar capacity in the EU reached 137.2 GW in 2020, with 22 of the 27 EU Member States installing more than a year earlier. Outlook expects 22.4 GW of solar power to be added in 2021, 27.4 GW in 2022, 30.8 GW in 2023 and 35 GW in 2024, taking the total installed capacity to 252 GW.

“The results from our EU Market Outlook are a relief for the European solar sector, which, only a few months ago, was bracing for a market slump. The capacity added across the EU shows that solar is strong enough to overcome a global pandemic, however, there is certainly still room for improvement.”

“While our market projections show that this double-digit growth will continue over the next four years, the delays in development caused by COVID-19 mean that we need to work even harder next year to maintain this momentum. Recovery funds are an excellent tool to drive the green recovery of member states, and to increase the ambition of NECPs, and the European Commission needs to ensure that the appropriate framework is in place to ensure that solar reaches its maximum potential.”

Michael Schmela, executive advisor and head of market intelligence at SolarPower Europe.
Arnes Biogradlija

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