European Research Leads to PV Solar Energy Map

A new map published by the European Commission (EC) shows the photovoltaic (PV) solar energy potential of different parts of Europe. The interactive online Photovoltaic Geographical Information System (PVGIS), developed by the EC’s in-house scientific service, DG Joint Research Centre, lets users estimate solar energy performance at any given location in Europe.

The information in the map shows that an identical solar system will generate twice as much energy in sunny areas of Europe, such as Malta and Southern Spain, than in areas such as Scotland or Northern Scandinavia. These tools are invaluable as the EU seeks to increase the share of renewable energies in its consumption to 20% in 2020. While it is perhaps no surprise that the solar energy potential of Southern Europe is higher than Northern Europe, the interactive information service map allows very specific calculation of the amount of energy that can be generated in any given location in Europe and its neighboring regions. It shows that considerable potential exists in Europe for greater use of solar energy. In addition to the map and the interactive service, the PVGIS provides information about the development of PV technology, such as figures on its share of total national electricity consumption in each Member State, up-to-date research on photovoltaics and links to worldwide databases of solar technology and data. The EC has supported the creation of a European Photovoltaic Technology Platform, which mobilizes industry, academia, regulators, financial institutions, and all others with an interest in developing European leadership in photovoltaics. The Technology Platform has designed a Strategic Research Agenda in which the main research and technological development issues for the sector over the next decade are addressed. These include the various technologies for harnessing solar energy, efficiency, storage and distribution to the grid.
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