Europe home to two-thirds of global solar energy capacityOctober 2, 2012
European Commission releases report regarding solar energy capacity
Europe is quickly establishing itself as a world leader in terms of solar energy capacity. Several countries in the European Union have shown aggression in their adoption of solar power, with Germany leading the charge. This trend is likely due to the incentives being provided by the regional governing body, which has sustainability goals it is eager to meet in the coming years. The European Commission, the legislative arm of the EU, has released a new report concerning the state of the EU’s solar energy efforts.
Report shows that 2011 was a good year from European solar
According to the European Commission report, Europe now accounted for two-thirds of the world’s new solar energy installations in 2011. Last year, Europe saw more than 18.5 gigawatts of total solar energy capacity installed, bringing the region’s total capacity to over 52 gigawatts. This is enough energy to power small countries, such as Austria, which accounts for 2% of the entire region’s energy demand. The report suggests that the growing prominence of solar energy is not expected to slow down any time soon.
Solar energy industry continues to grow
The report notes that the solar energy industry in Europe has grown by more than 40% annually over the past decade. Production costs associated with solar energy systems have also dropped by 60% in this time. The progress that the solar energy industry has seen has led the European Union to believe that solar energy can help it achieve its goal of garnering 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
China poses significant competition in global market
The report notes that the European solar energy industry has only one serious competitor: China. China has invested heavily in the development of its own solar energy industry. The country has thrown its considerable manufacturing might behind the production of photovoltaic solar panels, which have inundated the global market. The competition from China is so fierce, some European solar energy companies have filed official trade complaints against the country for its perceived manipulation of the market.