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Solar PV leads renewable growth in Europe

Solar photovoltaics (PV) saw the strongest growth of all renewable technologies in Europe last year.

By Isabella Kaminski

The European capacity of solar PV grew by nearly 13 GW last year, according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).

At the end of 2010, the cumulative installed capacity of solar PV in the EU amounted to over 28 GW, with an energy output equal to the electricity consumption of around 10 million households in Europe.

Germany was the global solar PV market leader for the second year in a row, adding over 6.5 GW of new installations to the existing 9.8 GW capacity.

For the first time, yearly installations in Italy and the Czech Republic were greater than 1 GW. These countries were followed by Belgium, France and Spain, all of which saw significant volumes in 2010.

Ingmar Wilhelm, EPIA President, says: “The growth of PV has simply been impressive in 2010. Decreasing cost, new applications, strong investor interest and continued political support have contributed to this development, making PV the number one green technology in terms of capacity addition in Europe. More than 70% of all new installations come from small and medium-sized PV systems.”

According to estimates by the EPIA, over 3 GW of new solar PV installations last year were outside Europe. The main contributors come from Japan, where almost 1 GW was installed, followed by the USA and China.

Eleni Despotou, acting Secretary General of the EPIA, says: “Supportive policy measures for the further roll-out of PV should continue to play their important roles in the years to come. It will therefore be crucial to design coherent national roadmaps for the development of PV on the way to achieving full competitiveness as soon as possible. Regular, necessary adjustments to the regulatory framework should be announced in due advance and administrative procedures should be simple and transparent. These would benefit the predictability of any investment decision and bring substantial cost savings at the same time.”

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity