According to new information from IHS, Europe recently reached an important solar energy milestone, installing 100 gigawatts (GW) of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) power. To mark this key development, SolarPower Europe (link is external), the industry association for solar power in the region, will hold a celebratory event on 29 September 2016 in Brussels.
“This is an unprecedented achievement and a cause for celebration,” said Oliver Schäfer, president of SolarPower Europe. “Just a few years ago solar was considered to be a niche alternative technology, but it is now a major element of our energy system. In fact solar power is one of the most competitive forms of energy generation in Europe today.”
Rising from less than 3 GW of solar PV capacity in 2005, Europe surpassed 100 GW in the second quarter of 2016, according to IHS. This achievement is primarily due to two factors – an 80 percent reduction in costs and regulatory frameworks supportive of solar as countries have acted to meet the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive. “In an increasingly regulated environment, the European PV industry now faces new challenges in installing the next 100 gigawatts,” said Josefin Berg (link is external), senior analyst for IHS Technology.
“Europe was once the cradle of solar energy, now the rest of the world is catching up,” said James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe. “In the current post-feed-in tariff climate we must make sure we have the right electricity market design and the right long-term investments signals for solar to flourish. We hope that the European Commission’s forthcoming market design reform and Renewable Energy Directive will pave the way for the 200 gigawatt benchmark.”
The celebration event in September will include a keynote speech by European Commission Vice President, Maros Sefcovic, who is responsible for the Energy Union. Leading up to the event, SolarPower Europe is encouraging solar supporters across Europe to mark this milestone, by following the hashtag #EUsolar100GW on Twitter.