Europe added 41.4 GW of new solar capacity in 2022, according to SolarPower Europe’s (SPE) new EU Market Outlook for Solar Power 2022-2026 report. Annual additions grew by almost 50%, up from 28.1 GW in 2021. It's another record-breaking year for solar, with the continent adding 10 GW more capacity than predicted by SPE in 2021.
Germany again installed more solar than any other European country, adding 7.9 GW. Spain followed close behind with 7.5 GW of new installations, and Poland closed out the top three with 4.9 GW. Poland's shift from net-metering to net-billing in April 2022, combined with high electricity prices and a fast-growing utility-scale segment, contributed to its remarkable third-place performance.
The Netherlands (4 GW), France (2.7 GW), Italy (2.6 GW), Portugal (2.5 GW), Denmark (1.5 GW), Greece (1.4 GW), and Sweden (1.1 GW) round out the solar top 10, all above the GW milestone according to SPE estimates. While the top five EU markets remain unchanged from 2021, Portugal and Sweden entered the top 10 at the expense of Hungary and Austria. Portugal joined the GW club for the first time thanks to impressive annual growth of 251%, mainly due to the large increase in utility-scale solar.
Italy, on the other hand, finally returns to the GW group after adding an estimated 2.6 GW, 174% year-on-year growth.
“The small-scale PV segment has bolstered the market, thanks to the country’s favorable Superbonus 110% incentive scheme, and high electricity prices which have improved the attractiveness of self-consumption business models,” the report reads.
The EU’s total solar power capacity grew by 25%, from 167.5 GW in 2021 to 208.9 GW in 2022, according to SPE. The industry body forecasts annual PV growth in Europe will be 53.6 GW in 2023, and 85 GW in 2026, according to its “most likely” scenario. This means the EU solar market is set to more than double within four years, reaching 484 GW by 2026.
“The numbers are clear. Solar is offering Europe a lifeline amid energy and climate crises. No other energy source is growing as quickly, or reliably, as solar,” said Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe. “We’re building a secure, green, prosperous Europe on a foundation of solar.”
The report also highlights five key areas for getting Europe ready for solar: expanding the pool of solar installers, maintaining regulatory stability, improving grid stability, streamlining administrative procedures, and strengthening European manufacturing.
“It’s more than high time to take solar seriously,” added Dries Acke, policy director at SolarPower Europe, “That means tackling barriers head on.”
Acke then called for “more electricians and stable electricity market regulation. A solar-powered Europe can only be based on smoother administrative processes, speedier grid connections, and resilient supply chains.”
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