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The sum of solar energy (CSP + PV) in Europe 2017

26 June 2018

Through the latest data provided by Irena's Renewable Capacity Statistics 2018 report, we review the installed (accumulated) renewable power in Europe as of this date, as well as the proportion of solar energy in this set.

First, we show a report that distinguishes (within solar energy) between photovoltaic and concentrating solar thermal.

For the latter and for all of Europe 2308 MW are registered, of which 2300 belong to Spain. Six and two MW for Germany and Italy respectively complete the total of this technology (CSP), to which the Grupo T-Solar recently joined, increasing its management portfolio.

If we put in graph the data of the table supra, we would have, according to the total capacity accumulated by renewable energies and in descending order, the following sequence of countries (we exclude the capacities lower than 1000 MW):

If we graph, according to the table of European countries, exclusively the solar energy (PV + CSP) the ordering of countries, as far as the first positions are concerned, is modified with respect to the previous one:

Spain, which ranks third in Europe in the ranking of total renewables (47,989 MW), obtains a fifth place if solar energy (7,728 MW) is considered. This last figure supposes a 16.1% of the solar with respect to the total set of the renewable ones.

We went on to examine the respective percentages for each of the European countries. In this table, ordered from lowest to highest proportion between total renewable energy and its solar energy component (adding photovoltaic + solar thermal), we can examine some evidence.

Obviously, the Nordic-Scandinavian countries (Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden ...) occupy the last positions due to their geographical lack of sun exposure. Special mention deserves Germany, a country that despite not having a solar radiation rate of the highest in Europe, maintains a percentage (37.5%) well above the European average (21.8%). The same applies to the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Belgium. Spain, even adding 2300 MW of thermosolar energy, a figure that places it in the first place in the European ranking in this technology, which is absolutely outstanding in the rest of the countries, maintains a discrete (16.1%) ratio between the set of renewables and energy from the sun, despite having one of the highest solar radiation rates among European countries.

Malta deserves special mention, a country in which virtually all of its renewable energy is made up of photovoltaic energy.

Naturally, these figures are merely illustrative or indicative, since it would be necessary to consider in these countries, in addition to their geographical condition, their economic volume and their energy needs, as well as the development that in other European countries have had other ways of obtaining energies, also renewable (hydroelectric, wind, marine) and the previous levels of fossil energy consumption (coal, petroleum derivatives).

On another scale to which we have been considering here, the ratio of renewables in relation to the generation mix for each country would be very important.

For reference in this regard see Eurostat June 2017 or the article of the European Environment Agency of September 2017, from which we extracted some passages:

"The proportion of energy from renewable sources increased to almost 17% in 2015, compared to 9% in 2005."

"In all the Member States of the EU, the consumption of renewable energies has increased since 2005. Sweden leads, by far, with 53.9% of its final gross energy consumption in 2015 from renewable sources. The next country is Finland (39.3%), followed by Latvia, Austria and Denmark. In fact, 11 Member States have already reached or exceeded their 2020 target set in the EU Directive on energy from renewable sources. Renewable energy sources vary considerably from one Member State to another. For example, Estonia uses almost exclusively solid biomass, while in Ireland, more than half of the primary renewable energy production comes from wind energy, and in the case of Greece, the sources are diverse: biomass, hydraulics, wind and solar, in order of importance ".

"The proportion of renewable energy sources increases rapidly in the total energy used in Europe. However, most of the energy consumed in the EU still comes from fossil fuels (72.6% in terms of gross domestic consumption in 2015), although its share in the set of energy sources has not stopped to descend ".

According to the web site Bester.energy 07/19/2017: "Today we still use the fossil fuels as the main energy resources. The production of energy in the world comes approximately in 86% of fossil fuels ".

Evidently, renewables, among which solar energy is included as a protagonist, have to confront, in times of present future, an imposing challenge.

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