Sweden installs record 180 MW of solar in 2018

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Sweden’s operational PV capacity increased from 231 MW at the end of 2017 to 411 MW at the end of last year, according to new official statistics released by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten). The figures show that 2018 was the country’s best year ever in terms of solar energy development, with 180 MW added to the grid. That contrasts with 91 MW in 2017 and just 13 MW in 2016, while in 2015 and 2014 the country added around 37.6 MW and 36.2 MW, respectively.

Overall, around 25,500 PV arrays are now installed in Sweden, with approximately 10,000 of them switched on in 2018 alone. PV projects exceeding 1 MW in size accounted for 17 MW of the total. In 2017, small solar parks obtained a share of 8 MW of the year’s installations. The Swedish Energy Agency has also revealed that PV systems below 20 kW in size account for 46% of the country’s total solar capacity and 84% of of its installations.

The strong growth registered last year is due to the drop in PV systems prices, but also because of the higher budget for solar rebates that the Swedish government implemented last year, when total available funds reached SEK 915 million ($98.2 million).

This year, however, the Swedish government plans to allocate just SEK 475 million for the program, which may result in lower volume growth. It could also reduce the rebate percentage to cover the cost of buying and installing PV systems, from 30% to 15%. Last year, the rebate percentage was raised from 20% to 30%. The rebate program is open to homeowners, businesses and public organizations that are willing to go solar.

Between 2017 and 2018, the Swedish government implemented several measures to revive the PV market, following a market slowdown in 2016. The measures included the cancellation of the solar tax for commercial PV and the removal of building permits for rooftop PV.