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Further European Solar Records To Follow In 2020

News

  • High April solar resource levels in the UK and Germany drive new production records, while new capacity helps Spain hit record production despite below average resource in March
  • As GHI increases in the summer months, further records are expected, but more investment in forecasting is needed to manage curtailment and price cannibalisation risks

Following solar production records set in the UK, Germany and Spain in March and April, the European solar market is set to break further records in 2020. This is according to data and software architects for bankable solar investments, Solargis, whose solar irradiation maps show the impact relatively small fluctuations in global horizontal irradiation (GHI) are having on production during the current lockdown.

The recent record production figures in these key European solar markets have been driven by a number of factors, not limited to GHI levels. These include new capacity added in 2019 and reduced levels of air pollution. Low energy demand during the lockdown has also helped solar energy enjoy record high market shares in these countries.

However, with high GHI levels set to continue in summer, it is expected that solar resource will drive further production records in the coming months. The opportunity must be taken now to assess how future curtailment and price cannibalisation risks can be managed by the industry to ensure smooth integration of new capacity into the European grid. In particular, more robust resource forecasting will be needed to manage solar energy variability in future.

Solargis' maps illustrate how daily solar irradiation varied from long term averages in the UK, Germany and Spain on the dates when the production records were set:

European GHI 26th March 2020 - difference from long-term average