EU produces 12% of power from solar this summer, reducing gas imports

Image by Ember (ember-climate.org)

September 12 (Renewables Now) - Solar accounted for a record 12.2% of EU electricity generation this summer, reducing the need for gas imports and saving billions of euros, energy think tank Ember said last week.

During the peak summer months from May to August, solar generation in the EU was 99.4 TWh, representing a rise of 28% from the 77.7 TWh produced last summer, when the share of solar generation was 9.4%.

In the past four months, the share of solar exceeded that of wind, which was 11.7%, and of hydro, at 11%. It was not far from coal’s 16.5% share, either.

Ember calculates that solar power saved the EU some EUR 29 billion (USD 29.4bn) in fossil gas imports, based on the daily gas prices for May to August. This is because without the solar generation this summer the bloc would have needed to buy another 20 bcm of gas.

“As Europe is rocked by the gas crisis, solar energy brings some much-needed relief. Investments in solar capacity have paid off,” said Ember analyst Pawel Czyzak.

However, an accelerated effort is needed to achieve climate targets and ensure energy security, including reducing permitting bottlenecks and increasing funding and solar deployment rates.

“It’s clear that we need as much solar power as we can get. The EU Parliament has the perfect opportunity to give it to us by adopting the 45% renewable energy target and putting Europe on a pathway towards 600 GW of solar capacity or more by 2030,” added Czyzak.

Of the 27 EU countries, 18 set solar records: Austria (2.4%), Belgium (12.8%), Cyprus (13.3%), Czechia (5.1%), Denmark (12.9%), Estonia (13.9%), France (7.7%), Germany (19.3%), Greece (15.3%), Hungary (14.7%), Italy (15.0%), Netherlands (22.7%), Poland (8.1%), Portugal (9.3%), Romania (3.8%), Slovakia (3.4%), Slovenia (3.1%), Spain (16.7%).

Despite not having the best EU irradiation levels, the Netherlands was the country with the highest share of solar generation, followed by Germany and Spain.

Poland recorded the biggest increase in terawatt hours of solar generation since 2018, followed by Finland and Hungary.

(EUR 1 = USD 1.015)

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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