February 3 (Renewables Now) - Europe added roughly 23 GW of new solar power generation capacity in 2019, up 88% year-on-year, according to preliminary calculations by IHS Markit.
The continent’s share of global installations is expected to arrive at 18%, up by six percentage points from 2018.
The near doubling of capacity additions was the result of a combination of favourable macro conditions, including a further reduction of photovoltaic (PV) module prices which boosted the cost competitiveness of solar energy, renewed growth in the utility-scale segment driven by tenders and power purchase agreements (PPAs), steady growth of distributed PV and a broadening of the number of large-solar markets, particularly in Eastern Europe, IHS Markit says in an overview.
More than 19 markets in Europe should have topped 1 GW of capacity by the end of 2019.
“Overall the European solar market is moving towards a new level of maturity and growth trajectory driven beyond rich subsidies. Increasingly, it will be driven by market fundamentals such as increasing interest from corporates, utilities and off-takers considering solar as a cost competitive energy generation source”, the market research firm said.
Demand in 2019 mainly came from the top-four PV markets of Germany, Spain, Ukraine and Netherlands. These are expected to report 13 GW of combined installations, or 60% of the European total for the year. Growth in the future, in addition to these four markets, is also seen to come from Portugal, Italy, France, the UK, Poland, Hungary and Turkey.
Despite grid connection and planning permission issues, shortening PPA terms and potential delays, solar installations in Europe are expected to keep growing over the next five years.