After an 18 month downturn, we are soon to see the European Solar market recover and rebound. The European market has been battered in recent years with the combination of the economic downturn, the Eurozone crisis and policy uncertainty being rife. However, the UK, Germany, Italy, and France are set to drive the European solar PV recovery in 2014, accounting for almost 8 GW - equivalent to more than 75% of the European solar PV demand.
Greg Barker, the Minister of state for Energy and Climate Change, describes the potential of the British solar industry, stating the UK is the most exciting growth market in the whole of Europe. He describes three main reasons to why; “First, our UK domestic market has the greatest growth potential in the EU. Second, the UK has a reformed, robust and fully-financed support framework for renewables, set all the way to 2020 and beyond. And third, we are an emerging global hub for advanced manufacturing.”
We have seen exceptional cost reductions in solar; so much so, by 2018 we anticipate large-scale solar will need lower public support than nuclear is due to receive in 2023. Furthermore solar power is directly in the hands of millions of people, not a single utility or overseas state. Nearly half a million homes have now gone solar in the UK plus thousands of businesses. Whatever the controversies over nuclear power and other energy sources, credit has to be given to the government for backing this winning technology.
We now must make sure we grasp solar PV’s full potential, along with the jobs and wide economic and environmental benefits that it can bring, as we compete with growing confidence in the global race to becoming the most exciting and dominate solar market.
Amy Speake is a Consultant within the Energy, Manufacturing & Infrastructure (EMI) Practice at Berwick Partners