Page 59 - European Energy Innovation - Autumn 2015 publication
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Autumn 2015 European Energy Innovation 59


Does Europe abandon

By Arnulf Jäger-Waldau, European Commission, Joint Research Centre; Institute for Energy and Transport,
Renewables and Energy Efficiency Unit

D  uring the last 15 years, PV installations with 49% of the rapid growing market and this
solar photovoltaic total world-wide 178 GW of solar led to unsustainable local market
electricity generation photovoltaic electricity generation growth rates. To counteract,
has grown from a capacity at the end of 2014, but unpredictable and frequent
niche market to provide about down from the 70% at the end changes of the support schemes
250 TWh electricity in 2015, of 2012. According to the IEA as well as legal requirements
roughly 1% of the world electricity Medium-Term Renewable Energy led to installation peaks before
production. The IEA Medium- Market Report 2014 this share will announced deadlines as well as
Term Renewable Energy Market drop below 30% by 2020 due to high uncertainty for potential
Report 2014 published in August a stagnant market of 7 to 8 GW investors. A number of retroactive
2014 estimates, that cumulative between 2014 and 2020. changes have further decreased
installed capacity of solar investment confidence.
photovoltaic electricity systems What are the reasons and
will more than triple by 2020 main consequences of this The legal framework for the
compared to 2013. development? overall increase of renewable
energy sources in the European
After the world-wide photovoltaic Some Member States had Union was set with the Directive
market more than doubled in introduced support schemes, 2009/28/EC, and in the
20101, the market continued to which were not designed to mandatory National Renewable
grow steadily and has more than react fast enough to the very Energy Action Plans (NREAPs), the
doubled to about 42.3 GW2 in
2014. For 2015, an increase to Figure 1 Cumulative Photovoltaic Installations from 2005 to 2015
more than 50 GW is expected (data source: EPIA3, Eurobserver4, JRC PV Status Reports5 and JRC analysis)
(Fig. 1). This represents mostly
the grid connected photovoltaic Cumulative Photovoltaic Installations [GWp] 240
market. To what extent the off-grid Rest of Europe
and consumer product markets United Kingdom
are included is not clear, but it is
believed that a substantial part of 200 Italy
these markets are not accounted Germany
for as it is very difficult to track Rest of World
them. The rapid growing markets
in China, Japan and the USA more 160 China
than compensated the stronger United States
than expected market contraction Japan
in Europe which fell from a record
of 18.5GW in 2011 to less than 7 120
GW in 2014 (Fig.2).


capacity of about 88 GW, the 0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 21015e
European Union is still leading in 2005
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