EU Hikes Solar Target to 600 GW By 2030, 320 GW by 2025

Highlights :

  • Like every market with demand over 20 GW per annum till 2030, the EU is also pushing for domestic manufacturing.
  • Multiple steps are being planned to ensure the targets are met, especially with markets still in turmoil from the Russian-Ukraine conflict.
EU Hikes Solar Target to 600 GW By 2030, 320 GW by 2025

Still reeling from the aftershocks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it’s struggle to punish Russia adequately with trade sanctions on fossil fuel exports, the EU’s updated REpowerEU strategy has reworked the maths to raise its solar targets by a 10 to 20% by 2025 and 2030 respectively.

The new targets are 320GW of solar PV by 2025 (from 300 GW earlier) and close to  600GW by 2030 (from 550 GW earlier).

The new targets are accompanied by a renewed push to reclaim manufacturing ground the EU has lost to China and other countries in the past two decades, by providing support to firms manufacturing in the continent. With a target that is in effect for 45 GW of solar each year,  it will remain to be seen if the EU also goes for any tariff or non-tariff barriers to imports, especially from China and South East Asia as the US seems to be doing. The solar push is the centre piece of the EU renewables push, besides wind energy, where offshore wind targets are also in line for a 3 to four fold hike.

The bloc has identified  four step pathway to reach its new solar targets.

1. Encouraging greater rooftop deployment through the European Solar Rooftops Initiative

Under this, rooftop solar permits will be granted in a maximum of three months.

Rooftop solar is also being made compulsory for all new public and commercial buildings with useable floor area larger than 250 square meters by 2026, and even residential buildings by 2029.

2. A renewed emphasis on multiple land use options, such as agrivoltaics and floating solar besides repurposing abandoned industrial or commercial setups and land for solar .

3. A skills partnership across renewable segments, from onshore renewable energy to solar energy, under the Pact for Skills.

4. Finally of course is the push for solar manufacturing value chain within the bloc, to avoid being stumped by events like the Russian war or even the kind of issues being faced in imports from China thanks to the intense covid lockdowns recently.

The EU has so far held off from direct incentives for solar manufacturing, like the PLI scheme in India or the high tariffs in the US. It has instead focused on creating IP for solar innovation within the continent, influenced perhaps by the advantage that firms in the continent enjoyed in solar manufacturing technology, and setting up plants in other countries accordingly till recently. Thus, heterojunction cells, perovskites and tandem cells development is a special focus area.

An EU Solar PV alliance has been mooted to support the establishment of 20GW of solar PV manufacturing in Europe by 2025. However, all these manufacturing plans risk causing serious overcapacity, thanks to Chinese majors that have already expanded or are in the process of expanding capacity massively.

The move by the EU reflects the steps being taken in India and the US, the two other large solar markets besides China, that are also trying to push for a wide solar manufacturing supply chain to meet domestic needs as well as global opportunities. Notably, other markets like Australia, Japan and most of Latin America that is emerging now, have not really pushed for local manufacturing thus far.

The middle-east, which has emerged as a region with upto 5 GW of demand each year now, has made half hearted efforts on solar manufacturing.

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