Good news for the solar industry this week – SolarPower Europe’s latest Global Market Outlook 2018-2022 report highlights another historic year for the sector, with a growth of 30% in 2017.
Last year was impressive for a number of reasons. Firstly, the world’s efforts saw almost as much solar installed in one year as the world has installed in total capacity in 2012 (100.9 GW). Secondly, for the first time, China installed more than half of the world’s solar capacity in one year (53.3%). Solar also outperformed traditional energy generation technologies and added almost twice as much capacity as wind.
President of SolarPower Europe Christian Westermeier says “solar is on a winning streak and on its way to become the dominant energy source in the 21st century” and predicts that solar is on course to add another 621.1 GW by 2022.
Globally, nine countries installed over 1 GW of solar in 2017 – up from seven the year before. However, when it came to Europe, the trade body reports that the “overall market performance was still sluggish”.
Europe added 9.2 GW in 2017, a 30% increase on 2016 when 7 GW was installed. Michael Schmela, head of market intelligence at SolarPower Europe, says: “The European growth is primarily a result of Turkey’s gigantic growth. When looking at the 28 members of the European Union, there is little growth: the EU-28 added 5.61 GW in 2017, compared to 5.89 GW in 2016. This result stems from the UK’s ‘solar exit’ in 2016, which halved new installations in 2017. However, 21 of the 28 EU markets added more solar than the year before.”
In the UK, only 954 MW of solar was installed last year – a drop of more than 50% on 2016 (1.97GW). As the UK is the slowest growing market among the top 20 global solar markets it has been given a ‘rainy’ outlook in terms of growth to 2022.