March 8, 2019 Read More →

Insiders optimistic about European solar growth

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

European solar power developers can look forward to a golden age in the coming years, with supportive trade policies and a new regulatory framework potentially doubling new installations of photovoltaic capacity in 2019 and 2020, according to industry insiders.

“We are looking forward to a real bright future,” Christian Westermeier, vice president of sales, marketing and application engineering at German polysilicon producer Wacker Chemie AG and president of industry association SolarPower Europe, said at the group’s annual conference in Brussels on March 6.

The industry group predicts solar growth in the European Union to almost double over the next two years, with approximately 30 GW in new capacity additions, compared to 14 GW added in 2017 and 2018. Under a central outlook scenario, it forecasts 13.5 GW to be added this year and 16.8 GW in 2020, with a range of almost 20 GW between its low and high scenarios for each year. The central scenario would boost solar PV capacity across the EU’s 28-member states to 145 GW by the end of 2020.

Last year, solar additions in the EU rose by 36% to 8 GW after two years of 6-GW growth, while global solar installations increased by around 5% to 104 GW against 99 GW in 2017, according to the association. Analysts have argued that higher renewable energy targets in many member states could lead annual additions across the EU to reach 30 GW by 2022.

More than 4 GW of PPAs for subsidy-free solar projects have already been announced in Europe, with the majority located in Spain, according to Pietro Radoia, a solar analyst at market researcher Bloomberg NEF. The forecaster estimates that 75% of new installations will come online in just five countries over the next few years — Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

“There is a huge demand for PPAs,” said Andrea Panizzo, head of business development for Europe and the Middle East at Enel Green Power, the renewable energy subsidiary of Italian utility Enel SpA. Panizzo said companies’ appetite for renewable power was also driven by more than just the need to burnish their sustainability credentials. “A company looking for a PPA for renewables doesn’t just want to slap a green label on a can of beer. They want to save money. And signing a PPA for solar in Spain now could save them a lot of money” based on rising power price forecasts, he said.

More ($): European solar sector faces ‘bright future’ with doubling growth by 2020

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