Europe is witnessing a remarkable expansion of its solar energy capacity, with cumulative installations up to October already matching the total for the previous year. According to analysis from Rystad Energy, the continent is set to add more than 58 GW (DC) of new solar panels by the end of this year, marking a 30% year-on-year increase.
Germany, after briefly conceding its top position to Spain last year, is making a comeback, with a projected 84% annual growth rate in 2023, reaching a record high of 13.5 GW of total solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity. Meanwhile, Spain faces challenges in maintaining its momentum despite its record-breaking performance in 2022.
Poland and the Netherlands are emerging as key markets, fueled by a surge in rooftop solar installations. These rooftop PV projects are expected to account for a substantial 70% of all newly installed solar capacity across Europe.
Vegard Wiik Vollset, Vice President and Head of EMEA Renewables Research at Rystad Energy, emphasized the transformative power of rooftop solar in reshaping Europe's renewable energy landscape, evolving from a niche market to a substantial force in altering the continent's energy mix.
In contrast to the success story of solar energy, the wind energy sector, including onshore and offshore projects, is facing challenges that could hamper its growth. Rystad Energy predicts an 11% drop in onshore wind installations in 2023 due to permitting bottlenecks and rising supply chain costs. Offshore wind capacity is expected to grow, but only by 2% because of project delays.
The RepowerEU plan, one year after its launch, has projected that the European Union will add 69 GW of combined solar and wind capacity in 2023, representing a 17% increase year-on-year. A separate report from Aurora Energy Research, released in June, suggests that Europe is on track to install 475 GW of solar power generation capacity by 2030, necessitating an investment of over EUR 145 billion ($153.4 billion).
Aurora Energy Research also predicts that solar power will become the world's largest source of power generation by 2027, accounting for 65% of worldwide renewable capacity growth in 2023.
BloombergNEF forecasts a remarkable 56% year-on-year increase in global solar installations in 2023, driven by falling solar module prices and the rapid development of photovoltaic projects, particularly in China.
According to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) World Energy Outlook, renewables will contribute 80% of new power capacity by 2030 in the stated policies scenario (STEPS), with solar PV alone representing more than half of this growth. The IEA predicts that by the end of the decade, the world could have the capacity to manufacture over 1,200 GW of solar panels annually, although the STEPS scenario anticipates only 500 GW to be deployed globally in 2030, less than half of the available module nameplate capacity.