More solar panels must be made in Europe to reduce reliance on Russian gas, EU says

The European Commission said it would do “whatever it takes” to rebuild Europe’s solar manufacturing industry.

The European Commissioner for Energy announced the news on Thursday, as part of the plans for reduce dependence on Russian gas as fast as they can.

“We need to bring manufacturing back to Europe, and the Commission is ready to do whatever it takes to make that happen,” Kadri Simson told the Solar Power Summit conference in Brussels.

“Part of that is looking at possible funding options,” he added.

Where are most solar panels made?

China is the world leader in solar power generation, having installed over 30.1 GW of photovoltaic (PV) capacity since 2019. As the nation with the largest population and carbon footprint, this commitment to renewable energy is encouraging.

The United States, India, Japan and Vietnam rank next on the list of major solar energy producers.

There is only a small amount of panels made in Europe. The countries currently producing solar cells are Italy, France and Slovenia.

How much solar energy does the EU currently use?

Europe solar growth is accelerating year on year, as the bloc pledges to rely on more renewable sources for its energy needs.

Solar panels generated a record 10% of EU electricity in June-July 2021, up from the same period in 2018.

Seven EU countries produced more than a tenth of their electricity from solar panels in June-July 2021, with the Netherlands (17%), Germany (17%), Spain (16 %), Greece (13%) and Italy. (13%) in the lead, according to energy think tank Ember.

Hungary has also quadrupled its solar share since June-July 2018, while the Netherlands and Spain have doubled. Estonia and Poland went from near zero solar in 2018 to 10% and 5% respectively in June-July 2021. And for the first time, solar surpassed coal in Hungary in the summer of 2021, a milestone already crossed. the previous year in Greece and Portugal.

“Europe has had a record summer for solar power, but it has yet to realize its full potential. Extreme weather conditions have given governments an urgent wake-up call and now they need to turn climate goals into climate action by scaling up the deployment of solar power,” said Charles Moore, Europe Manager at Ember.