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Why is solar energy so popular in Europe? What is solar energy system global growth trends to 2030?

solar system building

Solar system composition

Solar energy systems are mainly divided into two categories. Category 1 grid connected system, mainly include solar panels and grid connected inverters; Category 2 off grid system, mainly include solar panels, batteries, controllers and inverters. Other auxiliary equipment includes photovoltaic supports, cables, etc. In addition, according to the capacity of the system, it may be necessary to configure combiner boxes, AC and DC distribution cabinets and other equipment. The photovoltaic power generation system is composed of photovoltaic arrays (photovoltaic arrays are made of photovoltaic modules in series and in parallel), controllers, battery packs, inverters and other parts. The core component of the photovoltaic power generation system is the photovoltaic module, which is composed of photovoltaic cells in series, parallel and packaged. It directly converts the solar energy into electrical energy. The electricity generated by photovoltaic modules is direct current, which can be used or converted into alternating current by inverter for utilization. From another point of view, the electric energy generated by the photovoltaic system can be generated and used immediately. It can also be stored by energy storage devices such as batteries and released for use at any time as required.

At present, lithium iron phosphate batteries are widely used in the energy storage battery industry in the solar system, such as 12V lithium iron deep cycle batteries instead of lead acid series and 48V series.

According to the new European Social Survey (ESS) of “Europe’s attitude towards climate change and energy”, solar energy has the highest support rate, with 89% of Germans, 85% of Italians and 85% of French. The following examples can illustrate the reasons and extent of popularity.


The new environmental law of the French government requires that new buildings in all business districts in France must be installed on the roof of green plants or solar panels.

The benefit of green roof has heat insulation effect, which helps to reduce the energy consumption of building heating in winter and cooling in summer. It can also help the roof keep rainwater, thus reducing the runoff during rainstorm. In addition, it can provide a habitat for birds in the city and promote biological diversity.

French environmentalists have proposed that the roofs of all new buildings should be forced to be covered with green plants. However, the French parliament finally persuaded environmentalists to define the decree as a requirement only for commercial buildings. In addition, in order to reduce the burden on enterprises, the new law only requires that part of the roofs of new buildings be covered with green plants, and solar photovoltaic panels ca and solar energy storage batteries be installed as an alternative.

In recent years, the development of industrial solar energy storage in France is very prominent. According to incomplete statistics, 10 rooftop solar projects have been completed in France, with installed capacity ranging from 2 MW to 9.2 MW. Owners who have installed rooftop solar energy have also benefited from it. For example, it will cost about 10,000 euros to install a 15 square meter roof solar panel in France. If the operation is good, and the factors of geographical and sunshine inequality are not taken into account, the annual income from selling electricity to EDF can reach about 5,300 euros. In addition, the French government also gives 1/4 tax relief to each household that has installed rooftop solar energy. Therefore, many households and commercial users are very active in installing rooftop solar energy.


The British government announced to relax the approval of the installation of solar energy on the roof of commercial buildings, from the previous 50 kW to 1 MW. According to Eric Pickles, Secretary of state for communities and local governments of the UK, previously, if a commercial building in the UK wanted to install solar panels on the roof, it would need to submit a complete project plan with an installed capacity of 50 kW and obtain permission before installation. Now, according to the new regulations, roof solar projects with an installed capacity of less than 1 MW will no longer need to go through the above red tape.

At the same time, the Department of energy and climate change also confirmed that from 2019, once the commercial building owners who have installed solar panels move, they will not only be able to take away the solar panels, but also the on grid electricity price subsidies they enjoy. According to the previous electricity price subsidy policy in the UK, subsidized solar projects need to stay in the same place for 20 years, but 65% of commercial users in the UK rent houses, and the average lease term is less than 10 years.

Nina skorupska, CEO of the British Renewable Energy Association, said that installing solar panels on the roofs of commercial buildings would greatly help to increase the output of clean electricity. Previous unreasonable policy planning has greatly hindered the development of this industry. “It is a simple and effective measure to increase the installed capacity of rooftop solar energy in commercial buildings for approval, which has lifted the shackles of many rooftop solar energy projects.” Nina skorupska said, “in addition, the policy that electricity price subsidies can be transferred with the project also reduces the worries of the owners and makes more commercial owners willing to install roof solar energy.”

In this regard, the British solar energy industry association also expressed its opinion: “raising the upper limit of installed capacity for approval has cleared the obstacles for the development of roof solar energy.” David pickup, an analyst of the association, said, “the increase in the installed capacity submitted for approval from 50 kW to 1 MW may promote the explosive growth of the commercial solar energy industry and battery energy storage systems. We can predict that there will be thousands of warehouses, factories and even office buildings in the future, which can save costs and resources and obtain sustainable power more conveniently.”

Opinions of all parties

“Solar energy is the energy choice of Europe. Nine out of ten people believe that solar energy is the best technology to deal with climate change and will ultimately help to achieve the EU’s decarbonization goal by 2050.” AUR é liebeauvais, policy director of solarpower Europe, said, “Solar energy is the most democratic and decentralized form of energy. The beauty of solar energy is that anyone anywhere can install it in their homes, schools, hospitals or businesses. That is why it is important for the EU to formulate the forthcoming power market design directive for small-scale solar operators. Market design suitable for small-scale solar devices will ensure that European citizens can continue to actively participate in energy transformation .“

Kristina thoring, communications director of solarpower Europe, said: “solar energy has great appeal in Europe because of its unique ability to provide all aspects of life for your family or apartment, food and car. Solar is supporting millions of European citizens and communities – that is why we can say that we are all generation solar“

Walburga hemetsberger, CEO of solarpower Europe, said: “I am glad to see that Europe once again embraces solar energy in an all-round way. Solar energy is the most popular energy among EU citizens. It is both a multi-purpose and the lowest cost power generation. With the continuous decline of costs, the long-term upward trend of solar energy development in Europe has just begun.”

Aur é lie Beauvais, policy director of solarpower Europe, commented: we can foresee that the demand for solar energy in Europe will be very strong in the next two years. One of the main reasons is the upcoming EU 2020 target. Many EU member states choose low-cost solar energy to fulfill their obligations. Beauvais added: “by canceling the trade measures for solar panels and formulating a package of clean energy legislation, the EU has established a positive solar energy institutional framework and prepared for the significant growth of solar energy. Now the focus is on EU Member States to implement the correct national climate and energy plans to maintain this solar boom.”

Let’s look at the growth trend.

In 2017, the installed capacity of EU solar power grid connected was about 5.9GW, with a year-on-year increase of 36% in 2018, reaching 8GW. The installed capacity of solar power generation in Europe is about 11GW, with a year-on-year increase of about 20%.

The largest solar energy market in Europe in 2018 was Germany, with a new grid connected capacity of 2.96GW, an increase of 68% over the 1.76GW installed in 2017. The Netherlands was rated as the third largest solar energy market in 2018. The country increased by about 1.4GW, compared with 0.77GW in 2017. Now it has entered the GW level for the first time.

2019 is the best year in the history of EU solar energy, with an installed capacity of 16.7GW, an increase of 104% over 8.2GW in 2018, and another significant increase since the first European Solar boom in 2010.

The main countries with solar energy growth in 2019 are Spain / Germany / France / Netherlands / Poland, etc.

Spain added 4.7GW, making it the largest solar market in the EU. This is also the highest installed capacity in the European continent after Spain took the first place for the last time 11 years ago. The five major solar energy markets in the EU include Germany (4GW), the Netherlands (2.5GW), France (1.1GW) and Poland (784 MW, quadrupling over 2018). The top five solar energy markets in the EU accounted for more than three-quarters of the installed capacity in the EU region in 2019, while the top ten had a total of 15.6GW of new installed capacity, accounting for 93%. Although the contribution of the other 18 EU Member States is relatively small, almost all of them are moving in the right direction.

In 2020, the total demand for photovoltaic power generation will not decrease but increase. In 2020, the total installed capacity of EU Member States will reach 18.2 GW, an increase of 11% over the previous year, the fastest growth since 2011. The cumulative installed capacity of EU reached 137.2GW, an increase of 15%.

In 2021, the new solar power generation in Europe will reach 31.8GW, of which 25.3GW will be added in the EU 27 countries (EU27).

Based on the above analysis, the popularity of solar energy in Europe is mainly due to its environmental protection and the support of the government, as well as the increase of its development speed due to energy shortage. 

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