2021 witnessed the best year for the European Union in the renewable sector especially solar. A total of 25.9 GW of new solar capacity was installed in the 27-member states of the EU.
The data has been provided by Solar Power Europe in a report published in December 2021. Compared to 2020 the installation saw an increase of 34 per cent from 19.3 GW. This is not only a record but the best year till now. The former record for maximum capacity installed was in 2011, a decade before which had an installation of 21.4 GW.
Top 5 EU solar Market
Let us look at the top performers of the European Union who despite the challenge of Covid-19 made stellar performances.
GERMANY: As expected, Germany yet again was the major solar market in 2021. It grew the commissioned capacity from 4.9 GW to 5.3 GW. The EU’s largest economy has largely held the No. 1 position since the start of this century. In consequence, the German market that grew by around 1 GW per year between 2017-2020, is estimated to have grown by less than half a gigawatt or 8% in 2021.
SPAIN: Spain has maintained 2nd place in Europe by marginally increasing the capacity from 3.5GW to 3.8 GW. This makes the Southern European country probably the world’s largest market for subsidy-free solar, but it also demonstrates that grid constraints can be a major burden for the rapid deployment of large solar volumes. The 2.9 GW of solar power plants allocated in two auctions in 2021 will be mostly installed in 2023.
NETHERLANDS: The Netherlands as compared to 2020 grew the installed capacity by 11% to 3.2 GW. while the net metering backed residential segment has seen its portion slightly shrink to around one third, and ground-mounted systems continue to contribute around 20%.
POLAND: The small country in the EU has been a surprising NEWCOMER. The country grew the solar addition by 28 per cent in a year. They have installed more than 1 GW of energy in 1 year.
FRANCE: France saw a boom in solar installation with a 2.5 GW installed capacity. This marks a new record after more than doubling solar grid connections from 0.8 GW in 2020.
The other countries are also making huge progress by either giving subsidies or tax incentives to drive and fuel the solar demand.
PROSPECTS 2022-2025, EUROPEAN UNION
The upcoming 4 years will see a strong prospect as it seems in the latter half of 2022 the inflated prices of PV modules shall come down. the elevated module prices will have negative impacts on certain projects in 2022, and probably even more than in 2021 when developers and EPCs had still volumes on hand that were ordered at much lower price levels, even if the actual quantities received were often less than expected.
However, at 16% annual growth rates, 2022 will turn into another record year for solar in Europe and the first time the 30 GW threshold will be reached.