Solar Energy Demand Outlook: Europe

In 2009, the market in Europe for photovoltaic technology accounted for 83% of global demand.

In 2010, Europe’s share of global demand decreased by 3 percentage points to 80%, and in 2011, Europe’s share fell 17 percentage points to 63%.

While this trend can be attributed in part to rapid demand growth in other parts of the world, the fact is that growth in the world’s largest market for solar power components has stagnated.

Growth in the region has traditionally been driven by the feed-in tariff (FIT) incentive. In more recent years, European countries with FITs have undergone abrupt changes to the rules and the tariff rates.

These shifts have shaken investor confidence and driven down internal rates of return. Changes to the amount of electricity that would be reimbursed in Spain, for example, along with the abrupt cessation of that country’s incentive in 2011, have shown clearly that the FIT is an unreliable instrument. Navigant Consulting forecasts that, under a conservative scenario, solar demand in Europe will reach just over 11 GW in 2014.

This report examines the market for solar technologies across Europe, focusing on applications, demand drivers, and government incentive programs. Forecasts are included for regional demand growth, segmented by country, under conservative, accelerated, and reduced incentives scenarios. In addition, the market is segmented by application for the region as a whole and for each country.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • What are the forecasts for solar power demand in Europe, under conservative, accelerated, and reduced incentive scenarios?
  • In which countries will demand growth be strongest?
  • What is the future of FIT programs in Europe?
  • Which solar power applications will grow the fastest in Europe in the next 2 years?
  • What are the specific forecasts for demand growth in each European country?
  • How will macroeconomic factors affect the growth of the solar power industry in Europe going forward?