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

By Michael Schmela,  Executive Advisor


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.