Record boost in new solar power continues massive industry growth
UK leads European solar energy expansion to help renewables overtake output of nuclear power as industry leaders hail ‘tipping point’ for the technology
Last year, Britain led the European solar expansion, with help from government incentives, adding 2.4GW of solar resources to the domestic market. This contributed to Europe’s overall 7GW of growth and a record amount of solar power that was added to the world’s grids in 2014, pushing total cumulative capacity to 100 times the level it was in 2000.
“The success of the UK, set to be the largest European market again in 2015, reinforces the evidence that solar power is a versatile and cost-efficient energy source in any climate,” said James Watson, the CEO of SolarPower Europe, formerly known as the European Photovoltaic Industry Association.
Around 40GW of solar power was installed last year, meaning there is now a total of 178GW to meet world electricity demand, prompting renewable energy associations to claim that a tipping point has been reached that will allow rapid acceleration of the technology.
“For the first time ever in Europe, renewables produced more power than nuclear – and solar power was key in achieving this remarkable achievement,” said Michael Schmela, executive adviser to trade body SolarPower Europe, which compiled the statistics published on Tuesday.