February 20 (Renewables Now) - The European Union has achieved a 36% year-on-year increase in solar installations last year, with about 8 GW connected to the grid compared to 5.9 GW in 2017, statistics by SolarPower Europe show.
The solar power sector association said today that solar installations in all of Europe rose by about 20% to 11 GW in 2018, Germany being the largest market with 2.96 GW of fresh capacity representing a 68% year-on-year surge. The other markets in the top three were Turkey with 1.64 GW, down 37%, and the Netherlands with 1.4 GW compared to 0.77 GW in the prior year. SolarPower Europe referred to the Dutch market as “a rising solar star”.
Apart from Turkey, other non-EU markets contributing to the 11-GW European total include Norway, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine and others.
“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,” said Aurelie Beauvais, policy director at SolarPower Europe.
Michael Schmela, executive advisor and head of market intelligence at SolarPower Europe, noted that the EU solar market growth could have been even more impressive in 2018 if not for a sudden demand pull from China, which has led to a supply shortage for panels in Europe and project delays to 2019.