Rooftop solar could provide close to 25% of the European Union’s energy consumption, according to a new report from Elsevier, which used satellite imagery, electricity prices and lending data to analyze the untapped energy potential of Europe’s buildings.
The report states that specific countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain stand out in the above map as they host the highest economic potential that translates to more options for advantageous investments. “Competitive LCOE in these countries only partially comes from a favorable solar resource; lower cost of finances (WACC) combined with higher retail electricity prices.”
The above map shows the potential share in the countries’ final electricity consumption if their economic potential is fully utilized. The report points out the cases of Cyprus and Malta where the unique solar resource is matched with good financing conditions, resulting in the lowest system production cost in the EU. The case of Portugal also stands out; the excellent solar potential is coupled with favorable financing conditions and rather high retail prices (22.8 EURcent/kWh). The report states that these countries could cover a very high share of their electricity needs by developing rooftop PV systems at their most advantageous sites.
The second group of countries is Italy and Greece that could potentially cover 30% of their electricity consumption through rooftop systems. France, Spain and Germany could also cover a significant part (20–30%) of their annual consumption with such systems. The report notes that, considering the very large energy needs of these three countries, it appears that rooftop systems can play a major role in the EU energy transition, even if they are only partially utilized.