Despite the decrease of subsidies across Europe, the use of solar power continues to increase. According to a report by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, two thirds of the world’s increase in solar power capacity came from within the EU last year.
Last year 46.1GW of new energy capacity was installed in Europe, with 56 % of that using photovoltaic technology. Currently EU meets 2% of all of its electricity demand using solar power! This continued growth in solar power comes at a time when many countries are considering removing their subsidies for solar technology. Spain has cut all funding whereas nations like Germany, Italy and the UK have reduced (or are planning to reduce) their subsidies for renewable energy production. This is due to the rapid decrease in the prices of photovoltaic technologies, which means increased efficiencies and decreased manufacturing costs of solar panels.
The report makes the point that an estimated $ 1800 billion was spent subsidising fossil fuel use worldwide either through direct funding or tax breaks from 2007 to 2010; an amount that could have bought the equivalent of 340GW of photovoltaic capacity.