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SolarPower Europe | 3Q/2016 Market Update

© SolarPower Europe | 3Q/2016 Market Update

European Solar Market Installs 1.56 GW In Third Quarter 2016, Down 10% Year-on-Year

SolarPower Europe’s third quarter 2016 PV market update shows 1.56 GW of newly installed capacity in Europe in the months from June to September. That is about 10% less new solar power installed than the 1.73 GW in the same quarter 2015.

In the first 9 months of the year, 5.3 GW of photovoltaic systems were installed in Europe, a decline of 18% over the 6.5 GW in the same period the year before.

The main reason for the European market’s decline is the strong demand drop in the UK after slashing feed-in tariffs for smaller installations, and ending its support program for large-scale solar power plants end of the first quarter 2016. While the UK installed 4.1 GW in 2015, the first 9 months of 2016 only saw additions to the grid of around 1.5 GW, with the major part installed in Q1. In a few European markets demand for solar power has improved, but future developments for one of the strongest growth markets, Turkey, is very difficult to predict, due to its political situation and strong protectionist measures.

If the fourth quarter of 2016 develops similar to the previous year, total demand would be around 7.1 GW, which would mean 17% less than the 8.6 GW of new solar power additions than in 2015. SolarPower Europe had forecasted a 7.3 GW market for its medium scenario in its 5-year Global Market Outlook 2016-2020, released in June at Intersolar Europe.

Michael Schmela, Executive Advisor and Head of Market Intelligence at SolarPower Europe, says, “In light of the Paris COP21 agreement it is concerning that the European solar market growth is slowing down, especially now that solar has become the lowest-cost power source in many European regions today.” Adding, “While Europe has recently done little to profit from cheap solar energy, the US market celebrates its best solar quarter ever, installing 4.1 GW in Q3 alone, and anticipating a 14.1 GW size for the full year, up 88% from 2015. China might even install around 30 GW of new solar power capacity in 2016, which would be more than what Europe installed in the last 3 years put together.”

James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe, says, “It is of utmost importance for the European solar sector that the legislative proposals supporting active power consumers and self-consumption in the European Commission’s ‘Clean Energy For All Europeans’ package are maintained. We need improvements on several other topics: First, the proposed 27% renewables target is too low. SolarPower Europe calls for a 35% target, which would better suit the ambitions of COP21. Second, we need to keep priority dispatch and access for renewables in a generation scheme still dominated by inflexible power sources. Finally, the proposed approach to capacity mechanisms needs to be improved if we are to eliminate power generation overcapacities in Europe.”

SolarPower Europe, the association of the European solar sector, publishes detailed quarterly market updates that are available exclusively for its members.


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