Solar power could be Europe’s biggest energy source in terms of installed capacity by 2025 if the European Union (EU) stays on track for its net-zero targets, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on SolarPower Europe’s Solar Power Summit on Tuesday.
“Our numbers show that if Europe is keen and able to follow a net-zero goal, within five years of time solar will be the number one electricity capacity in Europe, overtaking everybody,” IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol said on the summit, as carried by Recharge.
The numbers Birol was referring to will be published in IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2020 on October 13.
“Clean energy must be at the heart of the global economic recovery. Solar was essential in offering resilience during the pandemic and with the help of the #EUGreenDeal, Europe will lead the world in providing solar and renewable technologies,” Birol said today.
According to SolarPower Europe, last year was the strongest year of solar capacity growth in the EU since 2010, with 16.7 gigawatts (GW) of installations added in the region - a 104-percent surge compared to the 8.2 GW capacity that the EU added in 2018. Spain was Europe’s largest solar market in 2019 in terms of capacity additions with 4.7 GW, followed by Germany with 4 GW, the Netherlands with 2.5 GW, France with 1.1 GW, and Poland, which nearly quadrupled its installed capacities to 784 MW.
After the pandemic hit energy markets this year, SolarPower Europe, alongside other industry organizations representing renewable energy, are calling for renewable energy to become the pillar of the economic recovery in Europe, especially in light of the EU’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Most recently, the European Commission laid out plans to increase the EU’s 2030 renewable energy target from the current 32 percent up to 38–40 percent.
“Solar has seen the largest cost reductions of any renewable technology, major efficiency gains and new innovations, such as floating solar and Agri-PV. This makes it a strategic technology that not only contributes to the objectives of the European Green Deal but creates jobs and development opportunities across all of Europe,” Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, said, commenting on the planned new targets and the possibility of a more robust industrial strategy for advanced solar technologies.