In 2017, solar energy showed signs of recovery in Europe. Some countries have released big growth data, and some new markets are beginning to recognize the possibilities of photovoltaics. This paper summarizes the latest development of photovoltaic in the European continent.
Data show that in 2017, the installed capacity of solar energy in Europe was 8.61 gigawatts, an increase of 28% over the same period of the year, reaching the highest level in five years.
Turkey took the lead and installed 1.79 gigawatts in 2017, an increase of 213%.
Germany installed capacity of 1.75 gigawatts, an increase of 23%.
Britain, which ranks third, is only 912 megawatts, down 54% from a year earlier, thanks to further government support.
Holland began to establish its dominant position in Europe.
Central European countries, including Poland and Hungary, have also taken action, and Spain has recovered from the gloomy mid-2016, with 135 megawatts of new equipment in 2017. With progress in 2018, Europe seems to have recovered: auctions are underway across the continent, and demand for rooftop solar energy has rebounded strongly in German and Italian housing and business sectors. Von Aichberger, an analyst at IHS Markit, predicts that demand in Europe will grow substantially in 2018, saying that "Europe will win global market share by 2020, but will not regain its pre-2014 importance."
Turkey integration in progress
After prosperity is integration. Many people were shocked by the installation of 1.79 gigawatts in Turkey in 2017. But this year is unlikely to continue. 2018 of the market outlook is still relatively low, with an estimated installed capacity of 700-800 MW.
Some manufacturers, suppliers, contractors and sub contractors may withdraw from the market by the end of this year. Only a few larger and more mature group companies can survive.
The future of large projects will depend on the choice of the government of Turkey. There are still some arguments about whether the government will choose to further carry out the "super project bidding".
For Turkey's solar suppliers, contractors and EPCs, this will be a tough time for a downturn in the market, but there will be opportunities around. Altay Cokunolu, chairman of Tekno Group, says Turkish companies are very flexible in changing direction quickly, and most of them, like some international companies, are very dynamic.
Germany is back on track
The mainstream sentiment in the German market is optimistic. Last year's growth has picked up again, but the figure of 1.75 gigawatts is still lower than the expected expansion target. The German Solar Energy Industry Association (BSWSolar) believes that Germany will be able to reach the benchmark of 2.5 gigawatts again this year. Data in the first quarter gave hope that the new capacity of 580 megawatts increased by 65% over the same period last year. It is expected to be slightly lower than 2.2GW in 2019.
Carsten Krnig, chief executive of BSW Solar, said that, in addition to lower prices, a stable policy environment has restored confidence among traders and project planners, which is the fundamental reason for the recovery of the German market. In addition, the German government has promised to allocate 2 GW PV contracts in 2019 and 2020. At present, the bidding volume of 750 kW and above systems is 600 MW per year.
Meanwhile, EUPD research analysts say the prospects for small and C&I rooftop installations remain "very positive". IHS Markit's Susannevon Aichberger also believes that this market segment is an important market driving force. In contrast, she saw the uncertainty of the market development of the special 2 GWA tendering project.
France's leading position looms.
France's grid connected photovoltaic reached 875 MW in 2017, an increase of 50% over 2016. Since 2015, the country has launched over 2017-2020 years of bidding for 5 gigawatts of solar power generation.
In addition, since 2017, small systems, including self-consuming photovoltaic arrays, have had a FIT solution, bringing about significant growth. In 2016, there were 15 thousand new self consuming PV arrays connected to the network.
The French government increased the additional capacity of 1 gigawatts by the end of 2017. A Solar Energy Task Force will be convened from May to June to find solutions to simplify administrative procedures and speed up photovoltaic development.
Xavier Daval, chairman of SER-SOLER, the French Solar Energy Association, said the French PV market would reach 3 gigawatts a year by 2023.
Austria is ambitious.
The government of Austria has succeeded in restoring confidence. Vera Liebl of the Austrian Photovoltaic Association (PVA) says that by 2030, 100% of Austria's electricity consumption will come from renewable sources, mainly hydropower, photovoltaic and wind power. PVA estimates that the country's installed capacity will be 170 MW in 2017 and 300 MW this year. In 2019, it will further increase to 350 megawatts.
But Ammon, an EUPD research analyst, is not optimistic that this year's figure should be 220 megawatts, although he sees a "positive trend".
This year's strong market development is partly attributable to additional incentives. For example, the government has allocated 15 million euros for the promotion of photovoltaic systems and power storage in the next two years. On the other hand, solar subsidies for rooftop systems have been revised to take a large share of self-consumption into account, which means more facilities can benefit from incentives.
According to PVA's calculation, to achieve the 2030 target, we need to increase 15 gigawatts of PV. At present, the installed capacity is about 1.5 gigawatts, which means the huge market potential in the next few years.
Solid prospects for Switzerland
The Swiss Solar Association predicts that the country's capacity will remain below 264 megawatts by 2017 - the country's 2016 figure. EUP also expects a slight increase in the 2017 growth rate, while HISMarkit believes it will remain unchanged from 2016. Swissolar Chief Executive David Stickelberger says Switzerland is expected to grow about 300 megawatts this year, while IHSMarkit even predicts growth of slightly less than 340 megawatts this year and 380 megawatts in 2019. It can reach 400 megawatts in 2020.
In addition, Switzerland is introducing its own consumption policy.
Greece solar return
Greece is preparing to bid for 300 megawatts of new photovoltaic and wind power projects on July 2, with more for the 2009-2020 period. Greece is expected to auctioned 800 megawatts of additional solar photovoltaic and wind power projects between 2018 and 2019.
According to the latest statistics from Lagie, Greece's electricity market operator, the cumulative installed capacity of Greece is 294 megawatts of large ground projects and 351 megawatts of roof photovoltaic. Most of the installation time is 2012-2013 years. In the December 2014 net metering scheme, only 16 megawatts of generators were installed.
At present, all eyes are focused on upcoming auctions. Successful bidders will be able to participate in the energy market and will get a floating premium. The premium will depend on market variables (for example, the marginal price of the system) and the electricity price set through the tender. This policy eventually brought about competition in the Greek renewable energy market. But this requires more participants. It is estimated that the tender in July needs to attract at least 75% of the capacity of the tender.
Stelios Psomas, a policy adviser to the HelaPo, argues that the volume of bids seems unreasonable because there are too few mature projects in the bidding process.
Poland slowly escaping coal
Poland is expected to auction about 750 megawatts of photovoltaic power this year, although the current solar installation is only around 280 megawatts, which could further help Europe's most polluted country reach a more rational level of renewable energy deployment.
The auction in 2018 may be no more than 1 megawatts. Large projects should have a better chance of auctioning in another 180 megawatt hybrid power plant. But wind power is likely to be allocated to 1 gigawatts of capacity.
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