Solar energy in the European Union
In 2010, the €2.6 billion European solar heating sector consisted of small and medium-sized businesses, generated 17.3 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy, employed 33,500 workers, and created one new job for every 80 kW of added capacity.
During 2011, an additional 21.9 gigawatts (GW) of photovoltaics systems were connected to the grid in the European Union, a steep increase from 13.4 GW in 2010. Turnover of the European PV market amounted to approximately €36 billion for this period.
Photovoltaic solar power
In 2012, more than 69 GW were installed at the global level, producing 85 TWh of electricity every year. This energy volume is sufficient to power annually the supply needs of over 20 million households. In terms of global cumulative installed capacity, according to the latest report of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, in 2012, Europe still leads the way with more than 70 GW (i.e. about 69% of the world’s total solar photovoltaic cumulative capacity). In 2011, solar photovoltaic continued its growth trend and Italy was the top market for the year, with 9.3 GW connected, followed by Germany (7.5 GW). These two markets were followed by France (1.7 GW) and the United Kingdom (784 MW). In terms of cumulative capacity, Germany with more than 24 GW, is the leading country in Europe, followed by Italy, with more than 12 GW. PV is now a significant part of Europe's electricity mix, producing 2% of the demand in the EU and roughly 4% of peak demand.
In 2011 the EU’s solar electricity production is evaluated as ca 44.8 TWh in 2011 with 51.4 GW installed capacity, up 98% on 2010. In 2011 in the EU new installations were 21.5 GW. The solar power share in 2011 was around 3.6% in Italy, 3.1% in Germany and 2.6% in Spain. EuroObserver expects the total installation to reach at least 120 GW in 2020. The national strategies are equivalent to 84 GW solar capacity in 2020 which may underestimate the actual development taking place. For example, according to AGEE-Stat (the Ministry of Environment’s Working Group on Renewable Energy Statistics), Germany connected solar capacity 7.5 GWp in 2011, twice the 3.5 GWp target. EU accounted for 74% of all newly connected capacity in 2011. According to Photon International magazine the worldwide solar cell production capacity was 12.5 GW in 2009 and 37 GW in 2011. In 2012, production capacities are set to rise to 69 GW, same as the total installed capacity worldwide at the end of 2011.
Denmark reached its governmental goal of achieving 200 MW of photovoltaic capacity by 2020 already in 2012, eight years in advance. Danish energy sector players estimate that this development will result in 1000 MW by 2020. Croatian as the newest member of the EU has a less than enthusiastic embrace of solar power due to a number of reasons. However, in past few years, Croatian solar energy has seen a dramatic increase in the overall output. From 32.4 MWh in 2012, to an additional 46,2 MWh in 2013 with another 108 MWh awaiting to be connected to the national grid and additional power plants under construction with total energy output exceeding 200 MWh. Croatian national renewable energy strategy is to increase participating share of renewable in overall energy mix from current 15.8% (end of 2012) to around 25% by 2020 with solar generating at least 500 MWh.
|PV in the European Union (MWpeak)|
|PV in watts per capita |
Concentrated solar power
|CSP in Europe (MWpeak)|
Over the next 10 years the European solar thermal will grow on average at a rate of 15% per annum. According to the National Renewable Energy Action Plans the total solar thermal capacity in the EU will be 102 GW in 2020 (while 14 GW in 2006).
In June 2009, the European Parliament and Council adopted the Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from Renewable Energy Sources (RES). For the first time, heating and cooling accounting for half of the final energy demand will be covered by a European directive promoting renewable energies. The overall renewable target is legally binding but renewable mix is free. According to the delivered national plans the highest of solar heating markets during 2010-2020 will be in Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Poland in respect to the national target in 2020 and capacity increase. Top countries per capita will be Cyprus, Greece, Austria, Italy and Belgium.
In some European countries the solar thermal market is still in its infancy. Bulgaria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, and United Kingdom have extremely low targets in their plans. Estonia, Finland, Latvia, and Romania have not included solar thermal in their national plans at all.
Solar heating is the usage of solar energy to provide space or water heating. Worldwide the use was 88 GWthermal in 2005. Growth potential is enormous. The EU have been second after China in the installations. If all EU countries had used solar thermal as enthusiastically as the Austrians, the EU’s installed capacity would have been 91 GWth (130 million m2, far beyond the target of 100 million m2 by 2010, set by the White Paper in 1997. In 2005 solar heating in the EU was equivalent to more than 686,000 tons of oil. ESTIF’s minimum target is to produce solar heating equivalent to 5,600,000 tons of oil (2020). A more ambitious, but feasible, target is 73 millions tons of oil per year (2020) – a lorry row spanning 1,5 times around the globe.
|Solar heating in Europe* (MWthermal)|
The relation between collector area and rated power: 1m2 = 0.7 kW thermal
|Solar heating in watts per capita|
The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) represents members active along the whole solar PV value chain. EPIA’s mission is to give its global membership a distinct and effective voice in the European market, especially in the EU.
- Dye-sensitized solar cell
- Photovoltaic Energy Development and Research Institute
- Renewable energy in the European Union
- [Solar Thermal Markets in Europe Trends and Market Statistics 2010], European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) June 2011 p. 14-15, Figure Capacity in operation 2010/2020
- Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics until 2016
- Fact Sheets
- Photovoltaic barometer 208 February 2012
- Denmark reaches 2020-goal for solar energy before time 12.09.2012
- Photovoltaic energy barometer 2007 – EurObserv’ER Systèmes solaires Le journal des énergies renouvelables n° 178, p. 49-70, 4/2007
- Photovoltaic energy barometer 2009 – EurObserv’ER Systèmes solaires Le journal des énergies renouvelables n° 190, p. 72-102, 3/2009
- Photovoltaic energy barometer 2010 – EurObserv’ER
- Photovoltaic energy barometer 2011 – EurObserv’ER
- Photovoltaic energy barometer 2012 – EurObserv’ER
- Photovoltaic energy barometer 2013 – EurObserv’ER
- Concentrating Solar Power
- Spain's round-the-clock solar power plant
- EurObserv'ER: Solar thermal and concentrated solar power barometer - May 2012
- EurObserv'ER: Solar thermal and concentrated solar power barometer - May 2014
- Solar Thermal Action Plan for Europe ESTIF, 1/2007
- Solar thermal market grows strongly in Europe Trends and Market Statistics 2008, ESTIF 5/2009
- EurObserv'ER 203 (2011) - Solar thermal and concentrated solar power barometer
- solar_thermal_markets.pdf Solar Thermal Markets in Europe
- Solar Thermal Markets in Europe Trends and Market Statistics 2010, ESTIF June 2011
- Solar Thermal Markets in Europe
- Mission & Activities
- European Commission:
- European Photovoltaic Industry Association
- European Union Photovoltaic Roadmap 2002
- Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign
- European Photovoltaic Technology Platform