EU national climate plans pledge 209 GW extra solar PV capacity by 2030

EU member states’ National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) confirm the bright future for solar in Europe, with 209 GW of solar PV capacity set to be added by 2030, or 19 GW per year, SolarPower Europe said on September 29, noting that solar will continue to be the most-installed energy generation technology in Europe between 2020 and 2030, together with wind energy.

During the SolarPower Summit, SolarPower Europe published on September 29 its assessment of NECPs, the framework for outlining climate and energy targets, and policies and measures to reach the 32% renewable energy target by 2030. NECPs are crucial for the European solar sector as each member state sets specific targets for solar deployment and defines how they plan to achieve it, SolarPower Europe said.

SolarPower Europe has assessed the 27 NECPs across 7 different areas that are key to solar deployment: solar targets, auctions, administrative procedures, prosumers, power purchase agreements, flexibility and storage, and grid integration.

SolarPower Europe warned, however, the full potential for solar in Europe has yet to be reached, and investments are necessary to unleash solar on a larger scale. The total figures from the NECPs are still below SolarPower Europe’s estimated market developments under a Medium Scenario in its latest Global Market Outlook, which noted an average of close to 24 GW of solar added annually in Europe by 2024.

“Compared to the draft plans from 2019, the final NECPs are improved and outline an ambitious plan to meet and exceed the 32% renewable energy target,” SolarPower Europe Senior Policy Advisor Naomi Chevillard said. “However, if we want to stay on the path of climate neutrality we must go much further, with at least 38–40% renewable energy in the mix by 2030, according to the European Commission’s assessment. To reach this target, unlocking the huge potential for solar in Europe will be critical, as it remains the most cost-effective, scalable, and job-intensive technology available,” she added.

SolarPower Europe Senior Policy Analyst Raffaele Rossi added that while the final NECPs show that EU member states are moving in the right direction to meet renewable energy targets, SolarPower Europe’s analysis shows that many plans do not provide enough information on regulatory frameworks. “Among the key issues identified by SolarPower Europe include the lack of visibility on solar auctions, an enabling framework for prosumers, and the absence of measures to simplify administrative procedures such as the bottleneck on permitting. Ambitious targets must be supported by a strong regulatory framework, capable of providing necessary visibility to investors. Removing regulatory barriers will boost the solar market in Europe and unlock half a million jobs by 2030, most of which would be in the labour-intensive rooftop PV segment, and it could trigger new manufacturing activities across the entire solar value chain,” Rossi said.

Meanwhile, during the online SolarPower Summit, International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Fatih Birol said solar will become the largest power source in Europe – in terms of capacity – by 2025.

“Our numbers show that if Europe is able to follow through on the net-zero goal, within five years of time, solar will be the number one electricity capacity in Europe, overtaking everybody,” Birol said, sharing exclusive data from the IEA’s forthcoming World Energy Outlook 2020 due to be published on October 13. “Clean energy must be at the heart of the global economic recovery, as it offers a solution to the economic and climate crises. Solar was essential in offering resilience during the pandemic, and with the framework of the European Green Deal, Europe can lead the world in providing solar and renewables technology,” Birol added.

For her part, SolarPower Europe CEO Walburga Hemetsberger said the new data from the IEA confirms what SolarPower Europe’s studies have shown: solar will become the number one energy source in Europe, and is ready to play a leading role in transitioning Europe to a climate-neutral energy system.

SolarPower Europe President Aristotelis Chantavas said that while 2020 has been a challenging year for the world, the IEA data confirms the beginning of a true solar decade.


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