For the first time, solar panels generated ten percent of EU-27 electricity during their peak months of June and July with 39 TWh this year, up from 28 TWh in the reference period in 2018. The EU saw solar generation increase by 5.1 TWh between June-July 2020 and 2021, a larger year-on-year change than in 2020 (+3.1 TWh) or 2019 (+2.6 TWh), according to an analysis by UK based energy think tank Ember.
Eight European Union countries set a new solar record share during the summer peak this year: Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain. Seven EU countries generated over a tenth of their electricity from solar panels in June-July 2021, with the Netherlands (17 %), Germany (17 %), Spain (16 %), Greece (13 percent) and Italy (13 %) leading the way, says the report. The Ember data showed Germany maintained the largest share of solar power production in the region, going from 11.5 TWh to 13.4 TWh during the summer period in 2021.
Hungary has quadrupled its solar share since June-July 2018 (from 3 percent to 12 percent). For the first time, the country’s solar electricity generation overtook coal power – a milestone that had already been reached the previous year in Greece and Portugal. The Netherlands and Spain have doubled solar power generation. Estonia and Poland have gone from near-zero solar in 2018 to 10 percent and 5 percent respectively in June-July 2021.
Despite recent gains, the EU’s electricity generation from solar panels still remains less than from coal power plants, which generated 14 percent of EU electricity in June-July 2021. The EU-27 has added 14 TWh of solar generation every year on average in the last two years, says the study: However, according to the report, the annual growth in the next decade must double to 30 TWh in order to meet 2030 climate targets set by the European Union.