Europe is now moving into a new phase of sustainable growth. Long gone are the years of 20-gigawatt-plus capacity additions and 20-cent feed-in tariffs. Across Europe, feed-in tariffs are steadily being replaced by competitive auctions, bringing a shift toward utility-scale projects and a steady decline in pricing. There's also a small-but-growing number of "subsidy-free" projects emerging. European utilities are also setting some pretty hefty solar targets.
This new era of stability, as defined by GTM Research, will make Europe a formidable force once again on the global stage. From 2018 until 2022, the region will see 14 gigawatts of PV annually, much of it utility-scale. Meanwhile, the levelized cost of projects may fall by 20 percent over the next four years.
Still, Europe faces some very difficult challenges. Carbon emissions in the region are on the rise. There are 50 nuclear reactors around the region that may close within the decade, taking the equivalent of seven years worth of renewable energy off the grid. Can solar help close the gap?
First, let's look at some important stats in the region. Then we'll explore the broader implications for this shift.
What does "stable growth" look like? If this were the Gartner hype cycle, Europe would be well into the "slope of enlightenment" and moving into the "plateau of productivity."