Solar PV Industry Grows Across European Markets

The solar photovoltaic (PV) sector is building momentum across Europe, particularly in Spain, according to a new report from Emerging Energy Research (EER). Spurred on by newly adopted feed-in tariffs in several countries, PV development activity in Europe is rising and project sizes are getting larger. This is causing shifts in competitive positioning along the project development value chain, according to the study.

After years of being at the top the solar PV industry, Germany has been joined by Spain’s growing market and together the two countries are setting the pace for PV development on the continent. Spain is forecasted to install 800 megawatts (MW) in 2008 and grow to 5.6 gigawatts (GW) by 2012, according to EER. With long-term and relatively stable incentive regimes in place, total installed grid-connected PV capacity in Germany and Spain amounted to 1,440 MW in 2007, accounting for 92% of the 1,562 MW installed in Europe.

Together, six countries  — Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, and Portugal  — are expected to hold the lion’s share of PV development activity over the coming years by adding 22 GW from 2008 through 2012, according the report. But the establishment of high feed-in tariffs in emerging markets, including the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Switzerland has set off a wave of PV development activity. Developers are now positioning for first-mover advantage to establish operations in these emerging PV markets, according to EER.

“The European solar PV market is becoming increasingly fragmented across the value chain from manufacturers to project owners with installers and developers operating in the continuum,” said EER senior analyst Reese Tisdale. “As the industry landscape adapts to lucrative feed-in tariffs, new markets, and supply chain bottlenecks, participants are beginning to target segments along the value chain that can leverage their core capabilities in manufacturing, system integration, and project ownership.”

Top 20 European PV Developers

Leading European utilities — including EDF-EN, Iberdrola, Electrabel, Enel, and Edison — have become increasingly interested in PV. Independent power producers, led by Acciona Solar and AES, are looking to continue expanding their renewable portfolios to include solar PV moving beyond wind, solar CSP, small hydro power, and biomass.

For more information on the new report from EER, click here.

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