Europe's solar market declined 36% in 2014, says EPIA

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Data from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) has revealed that the European solar market installed just 7 GW of PV capacity in 2014 – a 30% year-on-year decline.

Last year, 40 GW of solar PV capacity was added globally, said EPIA, but Europe accounted for less than a quarter of all installations, with the only true bright spot being the U.K., which surpassed 2 GW of deployment for the first time ever.

Unveiled at the 10th annual Market Workshop of EPIA, the data confirmed that China, Japan and the U.S. remain the leading regions for solar PV deployment, helping the global solar market grow by 8% in 2014.

Europe, in contrast, contracted by 36% last year, adding just 7 GW of PV capacity. In 2013, that figure was 11 GW.

"It’s great to see a thriving solar market in the U.K.," said EPIA CEO James Watson, "as it proves solar energy’s versatility to be a success in a country famous for its mild climate."

Versatility aside, solar’s poor performance in Europe last year is perplexing, Watson added, particularly since the technology is now a proven and affordable energy generation source.

"At a time when solar power has lower cost than retail and often even commercial electricity, it is hard to understand why governments are not pushing much harder to tap the technology’s potential as the European Union is looking for sustainable and secure energy supply," said Watson.

EPIA president Oliver Schäfer reiterated the call for a more stable regulatory framework for Europe’s solar industries, stating: "Solar is now a predictable source of energy – and European policy makers simply have to understand that and design an energy system based on solar power."

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