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Solar Energy Reaches New Record Highs in 2023: +4.8 GW for Italy

The new report from SolarPower Europe highlights the opportunities and challenges for solar energy in the post-Russian gas era

2023 marked a year of milestones and challenges for the EU solar sector, with a record power installation of 56 GW, approaching the IEA's target to compensate for the shortage of Russian gas.

The EU's total solar energy now reaches 263 GW, a significant increase of 27% compared to 207 GW in 2022.


Solar Energy: Italy +4.8 GW, Spain +8.2 GW

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, emphasizes the crucial role of solar in the current European energy crisis, noting that the EU is not yet installing the 70 GW per year needed to meet the 2030 solar targets. Hemetsberger warns that it is essential for policymakers to maintain a steady commitment to the implementation of solar energy.

Germany has reclaimed the top spot in the European solar ranking by installing 14.1 GW in 2023, surpassing Italy's previous record of 9.3 GW in 2012. Spain follows with 8.2 GW, Italy with 4.8 GW, Poland with 4.6 GW, and the Netherlands with 4.1 GW.

These figures reflect a clear recovery from the slowdown in installations in 2022, although the last quarter of 2023 showed a decrease in activity.

Dris Acke, Director of Policy at SolarPower Europe, notes that solar growth is no longer driven exclusively by high energy prices and highlights the importance of favorable investment conditions, reasonable grid connection times, local progress in permitting, and the elimination of trade barriers.


The Rooftop Solar Energy Market Records a 54% Increase

In 2023, the EU rooftop solar energy market saw a 54% growth, particularly among commercial and industrial customers, although the market share for industrial-scale services decreased by 6%. Challenges faced by solar developers include delayed auctions, higher grid tariffs, an inflationary context, and issues with permits and grid connections, despite EU-level laws.

This led to a new industrial-scale solar in Europe of 19 GW in 2023, compared to 16 GW in 2022, while rooftop solar grew from 24 GW to 37 GW. The SolarPower Europe report also includes an annual assessment of solar production in Europe, highlighting a mixed situation in the supply chain. Inverter capacity grew by 14% from 2022, reaching 82 GW in 2023.

However, polysilicon production capacity decreased by 12%, and ingot production faced challenges, with a temporary suspension of 1 GW. Module production saw a significant increase, reaching about 14.6 GW, 59% more than in 2022.

This underscores that less than 2% of European solar energy demand can currently be met by European photovoltaic production, highlighting the need for further investments and developments in this sector.