Bulgaria and Romania set to be EU solar hotspots


Industry body Solarpower Europe has predicted Bulgaria and Romania will emerge from the “rest of the EU” pack to each claim 3% of the region's solar market in 2024.

The forecast was made by the trade group as it launched its EU Market Outlook for SolarPower 2020-24 report this morning.

The study reveals Europe recorded its second best year for solar in 2020 despite a Covid-ravaged 12 months, with member states adding 18.2 GW of new generation capacity, a rise of 11% on the 16.2 GW added last year. That is second only to the 21.4 GW added in 2011, said the trade body.

Germany reclaimed its top dog position from Spain by adding 4.8 GW to corner 27% of the European market, but Solarpower Europe expects that figure to decline to 20% in four years' time. The slump which saw Spain fall from European market leader to third place came about as the nation followed up the 4.8 GW of solar installed last year with 2.6 GW this time around, for a market share of 14%. Solarpower Europe expects Spain to hold the same slice of the market in 2024, however.

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The Netherlands added 2.8 GW of solar this year to overhaul Spain, according to the report, but the 15% of the European market it claimed in 2020 is expected to retreat to 12% in 2024.

Bulgaria and Romania will be among the beneficiaries, according to the study, with each claiming 3% of the 35 GW of new capacity Solarpower Europe expects to be added across the bloc under its ‘medium scenario' forecast – meaning each of the two Eastern European nations will have gigawatt-plus markets in 2024, the same level as that predicted in Greece. This year, Bulgaria and Romania's new solar figures were included among the 10 GW installed by the 17 “rest of EU” member states.

France and Portugal are also expected to be winners by 2024, with the 5% of the market accounted for by France's 900 MW of new solar this year set to double to 10% – 3.51 GW – in four years' time. With Portugal's 500 MW of new solar this year having more than doubled the 200 MW added in 2019, the Iberian nation claimed 3% of the European market and that figure is expected to more than double by 2024, when Portugal will add 2.46 GW for 7% of the pie. Italy is also expected to gain ground, with the 4% market share accounted for by its 800 MW this year set to climb to 6%, and 2.1 GW, in 2024.

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Poland has been hailed as an exemplar in this morning's report after more than doubling its new solar figure to 2.2 GW this year to become Europe's fourth largest market. By 2024, however, the 12% of the market it holds this year is expected to halve, with the addition of 2.1 GW of new projects.

Supportive Covid-recovery policy in the EU could drive 28.8 MW of new solar in the bloc next year, according to the ‘high' scenario posited by SolarPower Europe, with the organization's medium scenario coming in at 22.4 GW. Under the more ambitious outlook, Europe would add what appears to be 34 GW in 2022 and 38 GW in 2023 – according to the unmarked bar chart issued under embargo by the association ahead of today's launch – before hitting 45 GW in 2024.


The medium scenario figures after next year's 22.4 GW, appear to be 27.4 GW in 2022, 30.8 GW the following year and an unambiguous 35 GW in 2024. The ‘low' scenario outlined anticipates European solar not recovering this year's rate until 19.8 GW is added in 2024, following figures of 14.9 GW next year and then what appears to be 16 GW and 17 GW.

The report mentioned solar installation levels fell in France, from 1 GW last year; and in Hungary and Belgium, which each retreated from 700 MW last year to 600 MW this time around. Italy's 800 MW was unchanged from 2019.

The 18.2 GW of new solar added in Europe this year took the bloc's total PV generation capacity to 137 GW and that figure could rise to 252 GW under Solarpower Europe's medium outlook.

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