Europe solar installs soar ahead of 2020 deadline; Storage to accelerate renewables dominance: BNEF

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Europe solar installs to hike ahead of EU 2020 deadline

European annual solar power installations are forecast to rise by 45% in 2018 to 8.6 GW, soaring to 13.5 GW in 2019, industry group SolarPower Europe said in its annual market report.

Falling costs, looming European Union (EU) 2020 targets, competitive tenders, and corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) will all boost solar power demand in the coming years, SolarPower Europe said.

Growth is expected to taper off post 2020 as EU countries will have 10 years to meet the next climate and energy targets.

"Moreover, there is only limited visibility on how the European clean energy legislation and national implementation for 2020-2030 will finally look like," the industry group said.

"Based on the current state of discussion, we anticipate hardly any growth in 2021 and 2022," it said.

             Forecast European PV installations

                                  (Click image to enlarge)

Source: SolarPower Europe's Global Market Outlook 2018

Falling solar and wind costs are boosting demand for corporate PPAs.

"In a number of European markets, we are now starting to see direct bilateral PPAs with solar increasingly competing with wholesale power markets. This development will be seen primarily in those European countries with the widest spreads between solar and wholesale power prices," SolarPower Europe said.

Growing self-consumption and deployment of energy storage technologies will also support solar demand going forward, the industry group noted.

"The quickly falling cost of battery energy storage combined with the benefits of digital and smart energy products supports the sales case for solar, as many consumers prefer to have better control over their energy bill," it said.

Wind, solar to hit 50% of global power capacity by 2050: BNEF

Wind and solar power will surge to almost 50% of global generation capacity by 2050 on the back of falling technology costs and widespread energy storage deployment, BNEF said in its 2018 New Energy Outlook.

“The arrival of cheap battery storage will mean that it becomes increasingly possible to finesse the delivery of electricity from wind and solar...The result will be renewables eating up more and more of the existing market for coal, gas and nuclear,” the analysts' group said.

Lithium-ion battery prices have already fallen by 80% since 2010 and prices will "continue to tumble" as the manufacturing of electric vehicles grows, BNEF said.

In addition, the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) from new PV plants is forecast to drop by a further 71% by 2050 while onshore wind costs are forecast to drop by 58%, it said.

                           Forecast US solar, wind generation

                                                    (Click image to enlarge)

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Outlook 2018.

The increasing competitiveness of wind and solar will see coal-fired generation fall from 38% of global capacity to 11% by 2050, BNEF said.

The share of gas-fired generation is forecast to drop from 21% to 15%, it said.

"The role of gas in the generation mix will evolve, with gas-fired power stations increasingly built and used to provide back-up for renewables rather than to produce so-called base-load, or round-the-clock, electricity," BNEF said.

BNEF predicts $11.5 trillion will be invested in new power generation capacity between 2018 and 2050, of which $8.4 trillion will be invested in wind and solar and a further $1.5 trillion in other zero-carbon technologies such as hydro and nuclear.

"This investment will produce a 17-fold increase in solar photovoltaic capacity worldwide, and a six-fold increase in wind power capacity," it said.

BNEF’s New Energy Outlook is based on current projections for technology advancements and assumes existing energy policy settings remain in place until their scheduled expiry.

Europe's solar industry launches O&M quality mark

Industry group SolarPower Europe has launched a Solar O&M Best Practices Mark to "promote transparency and excellence" in the growing operations and maintenance (O&M) space, SolarPower Europe said.

The new quality mark is an "industry first and a major step forward for the sector, it will help create transparency and drive up standards across the O&M market," Paolo Chiantore, Managing Director at BayWa r.e. Operation Services and Chair of the SolarPower Europe O&M Task Force, said in a statement.

The mark is based on recommendations in the SolarPower Europe O&M Best Practices Guidelines.

"One of the main challenges facing the solar O&M industry is the discrepancies between the quality of services provided by different O&M contractors," Mate Heisz, Business Analyst and Coordinator of the SolarPower Europe O&M Task Force, said.

"We aim to have hundreds of companies signed up to this initiative...we will strengthen the sector by delivering excellence-led, proficient and reliable services in solar O&M," he said.

Companies already certified include BayWa r.e renewable energy, Alectris, Encome Energy Performance, Greenteck GmbH & Cie. KG, Mega Tis, Voltalia, TCO Solar, Autarco and Stern Energy.

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