Dawn of the solar age

by Walburga Hemetsberger - 28 June 2024
June is always a buzzing month, and this year it has been particularly impressive with the launch of three big reports, several key events and the second edition of European Solar Day! To top it off, the sun has finally come out in Brussels.

Let’s not forget the big EU elections that took place at the beginning of the month. With the strategic agenda for the next EU mandate incoming, we are on a mission to ensure that the EU Green Deal remains a top priority. 500+ signatories from across the economy, have come together to remind EU leaders that delivering the EU Green Deal is the best strategy for securing Europe's competitiveness and prosperity, providing much-needed clarity and stability to Europe's businesses and citizens.


Join the call here.


This month also saw the launch of SolarPower Europe’s annual Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2024-2028 during Intersolar. The report reveals that, in 2023, global solar yearly installations grew by 87% on the previous year. 2023 brought 447 GW of new solar compared to the 239 GW installed in 2022, bringing the world’s total solar capacity to 1.6 TW. 


The world is likely to achieve 2 TW of total solar this year, after reaching 1 TW in 2022. By 2028, the world could be installing 1 TW of solar per year, but financing and energy system flexibility must be unlocked. 


Diving more into the topic of flexibility, we launched our Mission Solar 2040 report, exploring the interplay between the rollout of solar PV capacity, and the deployment and operation of flexibility solutions in the EU power system, looking at the 2030 and 2040 time horizons.


New modelling shows that more renewables, electrification and flexibility can boost European competitiveness, slashing average day-ahead energy prices by 25% by 2030, and by 33% by 2040. 

With a flexible, electrified system, more solar can be added to the grid. By 2040, the EU could host 2.4 TW of solar, meeting 39% of the bloc’s power demand.


On the topic of battery storage, latest analysis from SolarPower Europe reveals that, in 2023, Europe installed 17.2 GWh of new battery energy storage systems (BESS); a 94% increase compared to 2022. This marks the third consecutive year of doubling the annual market. 


By the end of 2023, Europe’s total operating BESS fleet reached around 36 GWh. The residential segment accounted for 63% of this capacity, followed by large-scale battery systems (21%), and commercial & industrial systems (9%). 


Although deployment is expected to continue to grow in 2024, projections still fall short of the estimated 200 GW of battery power capacity needed by 2030 to unlock the EU's solar potential. Battery storage faces obstacles across Europe, including missing targets, insufficient market signals, double taxation, and restrictive grid policies for hybrid renewable installations.


Read more in our new flagship report: EU Market Outlook for BESS 2024-2028.


It was great to top of the month with our annual visit to Intersolar, the biggest solar trade show and exhibition in Europe. The team enjoyed meeting with members and taking part in panel discussions throughout the week. Thursday was manufacturing day, and we were delighted to welcome the European Commission’s Director General for Industry, Kerstin Jorna, for an in-depth discussion on the future of Europe’s inverter manufacturing industry. We presented our new paper ‘Inverters Explained 2.0’ proposing an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) as a foundation for Europe to entrench its world-leading spot in inverters that go the extra mile. Later in the afternoon, We took Kerstin Jorna on a booth tour of some of Europe’s leading solar manufacturers.


Ending the week on a high, we celebrated European Solar Day with the launch of Solar School, a digital portal designed to answer any and every question you may have about solar energy - in a fun way. 55 partners played a key role in bringing the campaign to life for another year, and social media views passed 2 million!


A final note to highlight that SolarPower Europe won European Association of the Year at this year's Associations World Congress hosted by the Association of Association Executives. This is a wonderful recognition of the collaborative efforts with our members, team and other stakeholders to take solar power to new heights in Europe and beyond.


Thanks to all our members and partners who contributed to the solar success throughout the past month, and we hope you enjoy the summer sunshine in Brussels and beyond.


Walburga Hemetsberger


CEO, SolarPower Europe

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