Europe’s uptake of solar power is woefully low even in its sunniest southern regions, experts have claimed.
As parts of the continent battle a heatwave, drought and forest fires, figures obtained by a European news agency reveal a cooling of enthusiasm for the sun-powered energy source.
The sector in Europe – dominated by just three countries – grew last year at its slowest rate for nearly a decade, in sharp contrast to China.
Germany, Italy and the UK have around 71.5 gigawatts of grid-connected solar power – nearly three-quarters of all capacity in Europe.
But Spain and Portugal – whose capitals enjoy around 1,000 hours more of annual sun than Berlin or London – have installed just six gigawatts between them.
“The contradiction is the sunniest regions in Europe have the lowest installed capacities for solar power,” reported Ansgar Kiene, an energy advisor at Greenpeace’s EU unit. “It’s not logical. We think there are interest groups that are hindering the flourishing and utilising of the solar potential.”
“If we see Europe as a whole there’s a huge over-capacity of electricity production and that means every kilowatt hour of electricity produced by solar or other renewables will displace coal and nuclear and lead to closures of power plants and you can understand the current utilities are fighting to avoid it.”
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