The EU saw a significant increase in solar power capacity installed in 2022, with 41.4GW added, up 47% from the 28.1GW installed in 2021, according to SolarPower Europe’s annual EU market outlook released at the end of the year.

This growth represents enough capacity to power the equivalent of 12.4 million European homes and is equivalent to 4.45 billion cubic metres of gas, or 102 liquefied natural gas tankers, note the report’s authors. The total EU solar power generation fleet increased by 25% to 208.9GW from 167.5GW in 2021.

Germany remains the EU country installing the most solar power capacity annually, adding 7.9GW in 2022, followed by Spain with 7.5GW, Poland with 4.9GW, the Netherlands with 4.0GW and France with 2.7GW. In total, ten EU countries are adding at least 1GW of solar power capacity per year.

The report suggests that the EU solar market is set to more than double within four years, reaching 484GW by 2026. SolarPower Europe’s average prediction for 2023 is 53.6GW more solar power capacity in the EU, with a high scenario of up to 67.8GW of new installations. This rapid growth is in response to energy security concerns and an unprecedented energy crisis, say the authors. The International Energy Agency recommends that the EU installs around 60GW of solar power in 2023 to compensate for shortfalls in Russian gas supplies.

“Solar is offering Europe a lifeline amid energy and climate crises,” SolarPower Europe CEO Walburga Hemetsberger said in a statement. “No other energy source is growing as quickly, or reliably, as solar. We’re building a secure, green, prosperous Europe.”

“It’s more than high time to take solar seriously,” added the trade association’s European policy director Dries Acke. “That means tackling barriers head-on. We need more electricians and stable electricity market regulation. A solar-powered Europe can only be based on smoother administrative processes, speedier grid connections, and resilient supply chains.”