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Solar Europe 2018: Annual additions and installed

23 May 2019

The growth of the European Solar Market in 2018 was impressive. We comment on some aspects of the report, which was presented at the Intersolar Europe fair in Munich in May 2019.

We add some other data from IRENA Statistics of Renewable Capacity 2019 and from other webs (PV Magazine). We want to limit them to the European reference, excluding as far as possible the data/comparisons at global level , subject that will occupy us in another work.

In green: member countries of the EU-28 (pending of Brexit).

In purple: the countries with CSP production.

Turkey does not add to the European parameters of IRENA, although in other estimates (GMO of Solar Power Europe) is included.


"The image of the total installed capacity of solar energy in Europe in 2018 is very similar to that of 2017."

"Germany is still the largest operator of solar power plants in Europe with 45.9 GW of total installed capacity, followed by Italy with 19.9 GW (...) The only other European market that has more than 10 GW installed was the United Kingdom, but As it installed only 286 MW, totaling 13 GW, its share decreased by 1% to 10.3% "(GMO).

"Along with the three European 2-digit solar energy markets, 12 countries had solar capabilities at the 1-digit GW level (France, Spain, Turkey, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Austria, Romania , Bulgaria), while most of the countries of the continent operated less than 1 GW of total solar energy ". (GMO 2019/2023).

Source: own elaboration with IRENA data renewable capacity statistics 2019

In gray, countries counted as European, but not belonging to the EU-28


An important "growth phase seems to be taking place now in Europe as a whole and in the European Union (...) Both in Europe and in the EU, we anticipate a very strong growth for 2019", according to Global Market Outlook For Solar Power / 2019 - 2023, report to which the data of this work correspond mainly.


"While Europe added 11.3 GW in 2018, an increase of 21% compared to the 9.3 GW installed the previous year, this is a somewhat slower growth rate than in 2017 (30%). The reason: the solar energy activities in Turkey, which are traditionally included in Europe in the GMO (Global Market Outlook) and which was the continent's largest market in 2017, slowed drastically due to the country's financial crisis and lack of of political support. Turkey added 1.6 GW in 2018, compared to 2.6 GW in the previous year.

A bright European solar point outside the EU was Ukraine, where demand tripled to 803 MW, thanks to a highly attractive feed-in tariff. "


"The European Union's solar market, on the other hand, showed significant strength after the stagnation in 2017. It connected 8.2 GW to the network; a growth rate of 37% over the 6 GW installed in 2017.

Last year, 22 of the 28 EU markets showed higher installation numbers than the previous year.

Two added more than 1 GW (Germany, the Netherlands), and Germany once again became the largest solar market in both the EU and Europe after connecting 2.9 GW to the network, (67% more than the 1.8 GW of 2017).

As EU binding targets for renewable energy are fast approaching by 2020, and many member states still have a long way to go (according to Eurostat, 17 of the EU's 28 did not meet their targets by the end of 2017) , low cost and easily deployable solar systems are often considered as a key means to reach the arrival line on time ". (GMO 2019/2023)

As has been said before, "the change of the EU-28 from "non-growth" to double-digit growth, mainly, stems from the binding national renewable energy targets for 2020 that many member states still have to meet" .

The growth of the European/EU solar market in 2018 was impressive, although somewhat below our expectations in last year's GMO (34% for Europe, 45% for the EU).


Germany was the main solar photovoltaic market in Europe in 2018. In 2018, four years after losing the title of the United Kingdom in 2014, Germany regained the scepter of the previous market leader, Turkey (...) This is the first time that Germany fulfilled Its goal of 2.5 GW since 2013.

The second largest solar market in Europe was Turkey, which disappointed completely last year. After a short and very high flight in 2017, when the market increased almost 4.5 times to 2.6 GW, compared to the 584 MW of the previous year, Turkey was affected by a financial crisis in 2018. It installed only 1.64 GW, with one year decrease of 37%.
Solar energy needed to be cost competitive with other technologies so the Netherlands could go from a medium-sized market to one of Europe's leaders. Last year was the first time that the Dutch solar market reached the GW scale, one of the three European markets in that group.
The French solar market disappointed again in 2018. It still did not reach the GW scale, but much worse, unlike most other European solar markets, it even contracted slightly by 4% to 873 MW.
A very generous feed-in tariff of 15 cents/kWh for large-scale photovoltaic systems has catapulted Ukraine into the top 5 European solar markets in 2018. A total of 803 MW was installed, 228% more than the 245 MW connected to the network in 2017.

Some echoes of the SOLAR POWER EUROPE report.

Aurélie Beauvais, Policy Director of Solar Power Europe commented, as published on esenergia.es 6/03/2019: "We will see a very strong demand for solar energy in Europe in the next two years. One of the main reasons is the forthcoming EU 2020 objectives, in which many Member States will opt for low-cost solar energy to meet their obligations "(...)" The EU has done its homework - eliminating trade measures on solar panels and ensuring a highly positive framework for solar energy through the Clean Energy Package legislation. At this time the scenario is ready for significant solar growth. Now it is important that EU member states enforce the appropriate national climate and energy plans to sustain this solar boom. "

EMILIANO BELLINI on May 14, 2019, commenting on the report of Solar Power Europe in PV Maganize.

Large markets to boost Europe's growth.

Germany will remain the largest PV market in Europe in the coming years, with installed solar capacity of 26.7 GW by 2023, which will bring its total capacity to 72.6 GW.
Spain will be the second largest market with new additions that will reach 19.4 GW and its total accumulated will reach 25.3 GW by the end of the period 2019-2023.
Over the next five years, the Netherlands, France and Italy will likely add 15.8 GW, 13.3 GW and 9.6 GW, respectively.
They will be followed by Ukraine and Turkey, with 5.9 GW and 5.5 GW of the respective projected growth.

Despite the positive outlook, Solar Power Europe believes that the deployment of solar energy must be accelerated to meet the objectives set in the Paris agreement.

"Solar energy is ready both in terms of technology and affordability for greater acceptance of our clean energy source to help mitigate the climate crisis," said Michael Schmela, executive adviser at SolarPower Europe, according to PV magazine.


"While the recent finalization of the solar energy tax will boost more self-consumption systems in the new phase of solar growth in Spain, most will be land-based power plants and public-service-scale systems based on PPA.

In other markets with continuous solar demand, such as Germany, the distribution is much more uniform.

In several Central European markets, such as Austria, Belgium, Switzerland or the Netherlands, solar energy at the utility scale has not played a role in the past, it has always focused on rooftop solar energy. In the Netherlands, it is now changing, as auctions have begun to drive the growth of large commercial and public service systems "GMO 2019/2023.

Source: Global Market Outlook For Solar Power / 2019-2023

In 2018, 19% of the accumulated capacity of the photovoltaic system in Europe was installed on residential roofs, approximately 30% in commercial ceilings, while the industrial segment accounted for 17% and the public services market for 34%.




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