Solar power will be the largest source of power in Europe, in terms of installed capacity, within five years, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed on Tuesday morning.
Fatih Birol told SolarPower Europe’s Solar Power Summit: “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.”
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.
SolarPower Europe is expecting that there will be between 180.1GW and 276.8GW of PV installed across the EU-28 (including the UK) by the end of 2023, up from 131.9MW at the start of this year.
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 followed by Germany, the Netherlands, France and Poland, which nearly quadrupled its installed capacities.
Solar generated just over 110GWh of electricity in the EU-27 in 2018, according to the latest official EU figures, compared to 227.4GWh from wind, 389.6GWh from hydro, 491.5GWh from natural gas, and 595.6GWh from coal.
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.