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European Solar Capacities

In 2016, the total installed capacity of photovoltaic plants worldwide was 303 GW. Market trends suggest the annual increase will reach 100 GW by 2020, providing an installed capacity by 2030 of at least 3 TW. One TW (terawatt) is equal to 1000 GW (gigawatt), or one million MW (megawatt), or one billion kW (kilowatt), or a thousand billion watts.

Solar energy is divided into two main technology types: photovoltaics and thermal. Both of these technologies have made enormous strides in the past decade, placing solar energy at the forefront of the renewable energy revolution.

European photovoltaic generation by country 2016

In 2016, Germany remained the country with the most electricity generation capacity from photovoltaic per person, followed by Italy and Greece. Despite its enormous potential, Spain comes in a poor ninth.

    Top ten photovoltaic electricity generators in Europe /kWh per person (2016)

  1. Germany 465
  2. Italy 372
  3. Greece 364
  4. Belgium 260
  5. Malta 237
  6. Czech Republic 202
  7. Bulgaria 180
  8. Switzerland 174
  9. Spain 171
  10. Luxembourg 170

European Solar 2017 Q1

In the first quarter of 2017, the EU collectively installed 1.8GW of new solar (down from 2.4GW Q1 2016).

Between 2014 and 2015 alone, the total EU PV production increased by around 8.7% and totalled about 96 TWh at the end of 2015. A large part of this increase can be attributed to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands who grew their already large PV capacities by 40% and 30% respectively. Switzerland almost doubled its capacity, while Austria and Denmark also made good progress.

The analysis is based on the EMHIRES dataset (European Meteorological HIgh resolution RES time series) and the PVGIS model developed by the JRC, which provide information on solar power generation in the EU.

96 TWh @ an average of 1.1 MWh per m2, means there is approximately 90 million m2 (90 km2) of solar panels in Europe today.

The School with the Largest Solar Façade in the World: featuring LESO’s development of the colored photovoltaic modules with KROMATIX solar glass (SwissINSO). CIS Nordhavn is the Copenhagen International School’s new campus. The campus building was designed by C.F. Møller Architects and sits in Nordhavn, a new district in Copenhagen.

The Copenhagen International School’s new building is covered by 12 000 colored solar panels based on a technology developed at EPFL, Switzerland. It is one of the largest building-integrated solar power plants in Denmark. The 12 000 colored solar panels really make the Copenhagen International School’s new building stand out. They completely cover the building and will provide it with 300 MWh of electricity per year, meeting over half of the school’s energy needs. The panels are a distinctive sea green, yet no pigments were used to make them. The color comes from a process of light interference developed over a number of years in EPFL labs.

Cover photo and above by: © 2017 EPFL Philippe Vollichard & © 2017 EPFL Alain Herzog [www.iea-pvps.org/index.php?id=6&eID=dam_frontend_push&docID=3951]