According to the IEA – Euractiv FR, solar energy is booming in Europe

The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that 61% of Europe’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2028, thanks in part to an unprecedented wave of previously unthinkable solar panel installations.

Renewable energies are booming worldwide. In Europe, solar panels are increasingly dominating additional energy capacity, the IEA found in its report on renewable energy (Renewables 2023in English).

“The deployment of solar PV and offshore wind is expected to more than double by 2028 in the United States, the European Union, India and Brazil compared to the past five years.said Fatih Birol, director of the Paris-based agency.

For Europe, the IEA projects an additional 523 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2028, double the pace set in the previous six years.

However, the contribution of different renewable energy sources is very uneven: more than 70% of the expansion is expected to come from solar panels, while wind power is far behind at 26%. The rest is a mix of hydropower and other technologies.

The forecast for Europe is 12% higher than last year, which is fully explained “more optimistic outlook for photovoltaic solar energy”notes the IEA.

In contrast, forecasts for wind power in Europe have been revised down by 7%, down 5.4 GW from last year.

Hopes for renewable hydrogen have been most drastically revised downwards. The IEA revised its forecasts for additional renewable energy linked to gas production by 51%. “Funding for electrolyser projects in Sweden, Netherlands, Spain and Germany is progressing more slowly than expected”writes the agency.

Overall, the outlook for Europe is positive, the agency concludes.

On current trends, Europe is expected to generate 61% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2028, compared to 41% today, according to the agency.

If the EU countries continue the solution “slow and complex authorization procedures, network congestion and insufficient strategic support”renewable energy growth could be 32% higher, the organization points out.

This would allow Europe to exceed the 65% threshold for electricity production from renewable energy sources from 2028, and in particular solar.

Solar energy: a shining success

The IEA notes that solar panel prices are approaching the cost threshold of $0.1 per installed watt. An impressive drop from the $0.85 peak reached in 2016.

This reduction in costs, mainly due to overcapacity in China, is the basis of the solar energy boom in Europe.

“Global photovoltaic panel production capacity to double by end of 2023, outstripping demand”, the agency writes. In parallel, “China expected to maintain dominant position in global supply chains”.

Certain measures on the demand side in European countries also played their role.

Romania, for example, reduced VAT on photovoltaic systems from 19% to 5% in January, Ireland reduced it to 0% in April and Austria the same in October, the agency points out.

For its part, Germany raised the upper price limit for PV system auctions by 25% in response to rising costs, while France indexed contracts to reflect “costs associated with inflation during construction”.

The downfall of the wind industry

The IEA revised its forecast downwards compared to last year due to the continued complexity of approval procedures and rising interest rates.

As a result, the outlook for non-Chinese wind turbine manufacturers is bleak.

“Wind systems manufacturers in Europe and the United States have reported seven consecutive quarters of negative net margins over the past two years”the agency notes.

Germany was forced to bail out Siemens Energy last year due to problems in the wind power sector that threatened to push the company into bankruptcy.

(Editing by Paul Messad)

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