UK to lead European solar market in 2014
- 08 May 2014
LONDON: The UK is expected to be the largest market for solar PV in Europe during 2014, according to solar research firm SolarBuzz.
For the first time in recent history, mainland Europe’s dominance in the solar market will be subjected to a real challenge from the UK, who in the last four years has seen a surge of demand for solar energy domestically.
From 1995 to 2013, Germany was Europe’s solar leader and this year, research firm Eclareon reported that the price of solar energy is now competitive with retail electricity prices in Germany's commercial sector, as is the case in Italy and Spain’s commercial sectors.
However, recent policy developments in the UK have facilitated the expansion of their solar energy market, and an official target of 20 GW of cumulative capacity by 2020 was declared by the UK Government.
SolarBuzz points to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change’s ‘Solar PV Roadmap’ and ‘Solar PV Strategy’ reports as important milestones in the alternative energy’s widespread adoption.
At the end of 2009, solar PV in the UK represented just 0.3% of the comparable German’s figure, yet the most recent forecast from SolarBuzz, predicts UK will add 2.875 GW of solar PV in 2014 - outstripping the mainland Europe incumbent.
Analysts are basing their forecast on strong funding levels combined with “a very healthy pipeline of large-scale projects” for the coming months.
The report also notes the burgeoning rooftop solar market has “sprung to life” and that residential and sub-50kW commercial rooftop markets are “successfully navigating FIT (Feed in Tariff) degression phases”. At present, the UK’s solar farm portfolio is valued at approximately £2.5 billion (US$4.2 billion).
The changing nature of the European market is in line with a global shift in demand for the clean energy alternative. Where once European countries such as Germany and Italy took the lead, the international market is now dominated by superpowers such as the US and China, with Japan also gaining prominence.
Canadian Solar report that, since 2009, these three nations have exhibited compound growth rates of between 69% and 165% in the case of China. Furthermore, analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts that solar PV installations will grow by 20.9% in 2014, due largely to a rapidly expanding Chinese market.
Graph coutesy of Canadian Solar
By Alana Ryan
Image by Max D/Flickr