During 2020, photovoltaic energy continues to be the leader according to the Annual Report that the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF) prepares annually. At national level it was also historic.
Solar PV rises and records fall.
With the slogan of "Solar energy, opportunity for sustainability", this year highlights that PV energy maintained its leadership in 2020 over other generation technologies, which is increased by 21% compared to 2019.
East to west
These figures are supported by growth in each of the continents, from the "east" in China, the market leader, finally broke its negative trend after two years. In 2020 it contributed 60% more than in 2019. After China, in the "West" is the USA, which doubled its contribution from the previous year.
In its entirety, even having suffered from the pandemic, it set a record for installed capacity with 261GW (up 48% compared to 2019) and 82% of all new installed capacity (up 10%).
Developments in the European Union
In the EU, PV has continued to grow over the last few years, generating 18.2 GW, an increase of 11% over last year. This makes 2020 the second best year ever, second only to 2011.
The main contributor was Germany, regaining the position it has held for 14 of the last 20 years. (1x Italy, 2x Spain, 3x UK).
By 2021, an installed capacity of 22.4 GW is forecast, surpassing the 2011 record. By 2022 the forecast is to reach 27.4 GW.
This is Spain
In 2020, in ground-mounted plants, installed capacity reached 2.8 GWp, lower than in 2019, but with the asterisk that there was no public aid or regulatory scheme. In terms of self-consumption, capacity increased by 596 MWn, i.e. by 30% compared to the previous year.
In terms of annual installed capacity, it was the second best year ever in Spain, demonstrating that there is a business sector sufficiently prepared to deploy, for example, the large numbers needed to comply with the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC). By 2021 the expectation is that this will continue.
In self-consumption, a positive evolution is also expected, exceeding last year's 600 MW of new capacity. The subsidies provided by the government as part of the national recovery plan are significantly boosting this form of generation.
The impact on the economy
The sector is on track to grow its economic footprint by 7% over 2019, despite global circumstances.
According to estimates, the PV sector's contribution to Spanish GDP was €3,717 million in 2020, 0.29% of the total, continuing last year's rise. The sector's estimated economic footprint reached 10,688 million euros in 2020.
In terms of employment, in Spain, 58,891 national workers were directly or indirectly linked to the PV sector in 2020 (17,568 direct, 22,800 indirect and 18,523 induced).
In addition, PV is a net exporter. In 2020 it surpassed the figures for 2019, reaching 2,565 million euros.
Technology "Made in Spain".
Although it is not very well known in general, solar is a "Made in Spain" technology as up to 65% of the products can be manufactured in our country.
Among the world's top 10 manufacturers of inverters and solar trackers, there are Spanish companies present. The third in the world in solar EPC is also from our country.
All the structures are manufactured in Spain and some are exported internationally.
There are also very interesting manufacturing initiatives that could be consolidated in the coming years.
"With these data on the table, we are convinced that the photovoltaic sector will bring economic growth and job creation to the country, while at the same time contributing to the increase of its biodiversity and the fight against the climate emergency", says Rafael Benjumea, President of UNEF.