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Solar success: EU deployment by 2030 set to far exceed targets
SolarPowerEurope expects EU solar capacity to exceed 900 GW by 2030, well above member state and EU-level ambitions
  • Current installed solar capacity – 208 GW
  • Member state ambition by 2030 – 425 GW
  • European Commission target by 2030 – 750 GW
  • SolarPowerEurope forecast for 2030 – 900 GW +

Renewable energy targets and actual deployment generally suffer from a gap. As the urgency of addressing climate change has grown, announced ambition has outstripped the immediate capacity to deliver, whether the result of supply-chain limitations or other obstacles, such as slow permitting.

However, solar power appears to be different. Industry association SolarPowerEurope argues that, in its sector, actual deployment is moving ahead of political ambition.

Targets met ahead of time

In a recent release, the organisation says that 12 EU member states have revised their National Energy and Climate Plans for 2030.

Together, the new plans call for 90 GW more solar power than before. In particular, Finland, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden have more than doubled their earlier targets, while Spain came close with a 94% increase.

However, based on current announced targets, four EU member states – Estonia, Ireland, Latvia and Poland — have already met their 2030 solar capacity targets. In addition, the organisation says a further 19 member states are on track to meet their targets within the next five years, with the remaining four countries expected to reach their goals between 2027 and 2030.

According to SolarPowerEurope, even some of the updated plans could go further.

Eight of the 12 EU member states which have updated their plans will reach their new targets three years ahead of time, the organisation estimates. The Netherlands, for example, which has already achieved the highest per capita level of installed solar capacity in Europe, is expected to reach its updated target for 2030 next year.

Ambitions can rise further

The figures stack up like this: the EU has about 208 GW of solar power installed today. EU country targets (updated and still-to-be-updated plans) set out an ambition of 425 GW by 2030. The European Commission has a target of 750 GW by 2030.

However, SolarPowerEurope estimates that the most-likely scenario, based on current trends and policy developments, is that Europe will have more than 900 GW of solar installed by the end of the decade, exceeding by some margin even the Commission’s target.

Photo credit: © RWE AG

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