Photovoltaics are experiencing a second wind in Europe: In 2018, experts expect deployment to exceed 10 GW for the first time in years. Last year the European solar market already recorded annual growth of 28 percent, based on deployment of 8.61 GW. This development is being driven by tenders and power purchase agreements, where photovoltaics scores points thanks to its low cost. The upswing is also fueled by the advantages of consuming self-generated solar power.
Over 30 percent growth has been forecast for 2018 – alongside Germany, most notably in France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Larger PV plants with a capacity of just under 4 GW, among other developments, are planned in Spain before the end of 2019. Behind these advances is the growing success of photovoltaics as an economical alternative to wind power in public tenders. Sunny days are on the horizon for France, where solar power installations with a capacity of roughly 20 GW are to be set up by 2023. Alongside large-scale PV plants, France also supports smaller installations and on-site consumption via public tenders.
Market developments are becoming less influenced by state incentive programs, benefiting instead from falling costs and technical advances. Furthermore, new business and marketing models such as tenant power, sector coupling and power purchase agreements are opening up new areas of business. And political incentives too are becoming increasingly common across Europe with the use of public tenders, decentralized “citizen power” generation and net metering.