The European solar market decreased by 21% last year. This disappointing if not unexpected news opened SolarPower Europe’s annual summit in Brussels today. Grid integration of Europe’s solar capacity, EU market rules for protecting the ‘prosumer’ and reforms to the continent’s faltering Emissions Trading Scheme were major themes during the plenary session.
The Russian solar company has connected to the grid four large-scale PV plants in Russia. Its solar operational capacity in the country has now reached 75 MW.
The European Commission has decided to support the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative with €300 million ($317.7 million). The funds are intended to leverage up to €4.8 million ($5 billion) and to help finance 19 renewable energy projects totaling about 1.8 GW.
Italy’s ENEL will invest €80 million ($84.4 million) to convert its PV module manufacturing facility, in southern Italy, from amorphous silicon to bi-facial heterojunction modules. ENEL expects to launch its new modules in 2018 and to reach a capacity of 240 MW in 2019.
Around 11 MW of new PV capacity was installed last year in Norway. The volume of new installations grew by 366% compared to 2015. This growth was mainly driven by the country’s regulation for self-consumption and the green certificate scheme.
The Taiwanese solar cell maker has confirmed to pv magazine that it will exit the polycrystalline PV business and will focus on its monocrystalline products. The company intends to gradually lower its polycrystalline PV capacity.
The UK installed almost 2 GW of new PV installations in 2016, according to provisional BEIS statistics. The country’s cumulative capacity now surpasses 11.49 GW. The largest increase in capacity during the year was registered in March 2016, before the Renewable Obligation scheme for projects smaller than 5 MWp was closed, with a one-year grace period for some projects.
The Netherlands-based equipment manufacturer will provide an unidentified solar cell maker in China with a 200 MW production line. The supply agreement includes the possible expansion of the line to 1 GW. The equipment will produce n-type crystalline-silicon cells for bifacial modules.
Investments in distributed solar made by North American and European utilities have reached an aggregate value of $297 million to date. North American power providers seem to be more confident on distributed solar, but European companies are investing more heavily in all distributed energy segments.
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