Mercury is falling on EU solar barometer


The latest PV barometer released by the EurObserv’ER organization – which tracks global trends in renewable energy – illustrates the sharp decline in solar fortunes in the EU.

Whilst the global newly installed PV capacity figure for 2012 remained stable at around 30 GWp, that was largely because emerging markets made good a 25% slide on installed capacity across the EU from 2011 to 2012.

Although, according to EurObserv’ER figures, solar accounts for more than 2% of the EU’s total electricity consumption – with some 68.1 TWh last year – the 16.5 GWp of solar installed in 2012 was down sharply on the 22 GWp of capacity connected in 2011.

Those figures add up to generation capacity of 136.3 Wp per citizen across the EU. Unsurprisingly solar pioneers Germany and Italy top the national breakdown with Germany boasting 399.5 Wp capacity per person and Italy 269 Wp, ahead of Belgium, with 240 Wp. The Czech Republic, Greece and Bulgaria also boast high generation capacity per capita figures.

Despite the sharp fall in installed capacity, Europe boasted 50.1% more solar electricity consumption in 2012 than in the previous year and three times as much as in 2010, with a cumulative installed capacity of 68.6 GWp, a legacy of the period when Europe led the world’s solar generation revolution.

EurObserv’ER blames the variety of taxes – many retroactive – and grid connection fees being imposed by the continent’s austerity-driven governments for the fall-off in installed capacity in 2012.