The deadline for the EU 2020 renewable energy targets is approaching, however, not all member states will manage to accomplish their goals. According to a recent Eurostat official update, only 11 countries have already reached their 2020 renewable energy targets. Some of them even surpassed it like Croatia, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
On the downside, some of the other members are quite far from reaching their targets and may even miss it. For example, the United Kingdom still has to cover the remaining 4.8%, Ireland has to fill in 5.3% more, and France 6.7%.
Current State of the UK’s Renewable Energy Sources
According to a recent research, the total renewables share of energy generation in the United Kingdom was 33% for 2018. This speaks for 3.8% annual increase with wind power receiving the biggest share of 17.1%. The second place was covered by bioenergy with 10.4% and third came solar energy with 3.9%.
Overall, all renewable energy sources in the UK have an increased annual growth. The best performing sector is the offshore wind energy generation with 27.6%, followed by solar energy with 14.6% annual growth, onshore wind energy generation with 5,2% and hydro power with 12%.
Unfortunately, the solar energy growth might stall with the end of the Feed-in Tariff since March this year. The governmental initiative resulted in 992,065 new photovoltaic installations for the period it was active.
Apart from discarding the Feed-in Tariff, the government will also increase the VAT of new solar photovoltaic installations from 5% to 20%. The new law will become active as of 1st October and comes as a result of the Brittish government being complaint with the EU legislation.
Currently, the UK’s solar market is dominated by small-scale PV systems.Their share is more than 90% of the total 1,007,427 installations. For example, in June this year, there have been 2,375 confirmed new sub-4kW PV installations. That’s also one of the reasons why the Brittish government introduced the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) initiative, which will provide financial support to small low-carbon generators.
The United Kingdom and Rest of Europe
The United Kingdom ranked 3rd among the other EU member states regarding its maximum net generating solar capacity which was 13.1 GW in 2018. In comparison, the EU’s maximum net generating solar capacity was estimated to be 171 GW for the same year. Additionally, the ultimate winner was Germany with a solar capacity of 45.9 GW, followed by Italy with 20.1 GW.
In total, 11.3 GW of solar power was added in Europe in 2018, which resulted in a 21% annual increase in solar installations. Most importantly, in relation to the approaching 2020 EU targets for renewable energy, the demand for solar power in the European Union raised by 37% and it is expected to increase even further the upcoming four years.
For example, research shows that the total UK solar capacity is anticipated to rise with 2,711 MW up to 15,674 MW by 2023. For the other leaders on the solar market, the numbers predict that Germany’s solar capacity will expand with 26,692 MW and Italy’s with 9,621 MW.
Even though the United Kingdom is in the top three biggest European solar markets, it still has a long way to go in order to catch up with the first place. Furthermore, with the country falling behind on its 2020 renewable energy target, the UK should definitely find its way back in the game.
Written by Galabina Nedelcheva, GreenMatch
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