EU has massive stockpile of Solar Panels
European Union has almost the same amount of solar panels stockpiled as it has installed. The report published by energy research firm Rystad Energy has indicated that EU is facing significant bottlenecks in installation of solar panels. As per the reports, solar panels worth €7 billion are currently staying in warehouses across European Union.
Rystad Energy's Freedom from Fossil Fuels report indicated that EU’s installed capacity with solar panels could reach as high at 100 gigawatts once the stockpiled solar panels have been installed. As per the report, at end of 2022, solar installed capacity was at 40 gigawatts. The solar panels EU has currently in warehouses can generate almost 40 GW of energy.
Last year, Europe spent €20 billion on solar panels. As China is currently major exporter of solar panels and other equipment needed in installation of panels, the imports from China accounted for €18.5 billion. Even as EU has massive stockpile of solar panels, the import has been rising compared to 2022. As per the report, imports jumped by 51% in March 2023 and 16% in April this year (compared to the same month last year).
As per Rystad report, “Despite these ambitious goals, between 2019 and 2022, locally-made modules could not keep pace with the growth of imported panels. From 2021 to 2022, the amount of Chinese solar modules imported by European countries increased by 112% to about 87 GWdc. The installation rate in these countries has yet to meet anticipated levels, resulting in a sizeable gap of almost 47 GWdc in 2022 in shipped versus installed modules.”
EU still depends on fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy has been slow. The share of Solar panels and Wind energy has been growing but not as fast as they could. EU must reduce its dependence on fossil fuels in order to deal with climate change. After Russian war in Ukraine, EU had to reduce its reliance on Russia for natural gas and crude oil. Instead of shifting faster to renewable energy, EU started searching for alternative sources of natural gas and coal.
The solar panel imports are mostly heading to the Netherlands and possibly exported to other European countries later. As per Rystad data, “The imports are heading to several key destinations, including the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Poland, France, Greece, Italy, and the UK. The Netherlands was the standout leader in Chinese PV imports in 2022, bringing in almost 45 GWdc alone, more than ten times the amount of panels installed domestically across the year. Spain, Germany and France also imported more panels from China than they installed from any source. Greece has a similar profile to the Netherlands but on a smaller scale, with the country installing the equivalent of only 15% of the capacity imported from China.”
Rystad Energy is an independent energy research and business intelligence company providing data, tools, analytics and consultancy services to the global energy industry.