20 September 2022

The world is undergoing a revolution – a green revolution. Superpowers are no longer being judged by their military might, but by their green energy. The UK and United States are dominating the race to net zero with Europe following in close succession.

Spain is now the third largest producer of solar power in the UK, following the lead of the Netherlands and Germany. The country is turning to solar panels to meet its electricity needs. Record-breaking temperatures this summer and the rising cost of energy have Europe racing against the clock to boost its renewable energy capacity.

Spain is an ideal case study for looking at the expansion of renewable energy facilities in Europe. Companies across Spain are seeing over a 200% increase in demand for solar panel installations. It comes after the country removed its ‘sun tax’ on solar energy produced domestically.

At Green Switch Capital, we look to our European neighbours for inspiration. Tackling climate change and achieving net zero is an international mission. It’s one of the biggest tasks that humanity has ever faced. Our land-leasing programme for renewable energy projects echoes the rising demand across Europe.

We’re exploring how Europe is turning to solar power to solve its energy crisis and what we can learn in the UK.

How Spain is Promoting Solar Power

Spain is following the example of the UK by introducing legislation to promote renewable energy production. The country’s legislative plans include a focus on ‘energy communities’ using collective installations to produce renewable energy. Spain is focusing its net zero strategy on collective action at a community level.

The country’s recent push for solar power now means it ranks 3rd in Europe for the highest rate of electricity from solar power. It comes behind the Netherlands and Germany, which have long been global leaders in renewable energy.

Early adopters of Spain’s renewable energy programme are already reaping the benefits. Interviewees in a recent Euro News article talked about having to pay zero euros on their energy bills, thanks to their solar panels.

Europe’s Record-Breaking Summer of Solar Power

This summer was a record-breaker in more ways than one. Rising temperatures and a long summer season saw solar power generation jump 28% in Europe compared to 2021. This uplift in solar energy protected the European market from the consequences of maintaining a higher reliance on fossil fuels in the face of the energy crisis.

Solar panels accounted for 12% of the European Union’s electricity usage from May to August 2022. This electricity would have cost 29 billion euros if it had come from fossil fuels or natural gas-burning plants.

Europe’s focus on promoting solar power isn’t just for its environmental benefits. The bloc needs to reduce its reliance on imported fuels as costs continue to rise due to the economic situation and the war in Ukraine.

This summer’s record solar power production came just in the nick of time. France’s nuclear reactors were offline for maintenance, removing one of Europe’s major producers of low-carbon electricity. Hydropower infrastructure also struggled from the high temperatures with waterways suffering from drought-like conditions.

Role of Battery Storage in Maximising Solar Power

Investment in solar power is paying off for Europe. Rising solar power capacity means the cost of energy is reduced and the bloc moves closer to achieving a carbon-neutral energy system.

The rise in self-supply and solar panel installation means that Spain now faces another problem. How can it capitalise on its excess renewable energy production? That’s where battery storage comes in.

At Green Switch Capital, we’re actively working to repurpose land for battery storage solutions. Investing in battery storage allows us to reserve excess supply for periods of high energy demand to prevent spikes in energy costs.

Connecting the battery storage to the National Grid will allow this energy to travel wherever it is needed in the wider network.

Self-Supply and Issues Facing the Renewables Industry

Self-supply amongst individual consumers and within so-called energy communities is the driving force behind Spain’s results. The main issue stalling growth is a lack of qualified technicians and limited supplies.

A recent Bloomberg report suggests that tens of thousands of solar panels are sitting in warehouses unused due to these issues. The renewables industry can only succeed when it has its dominos lined up correctly.

Investing in a renewable energy rollout will always be offset by the economic savings of using domestically produced renewable energy.

Europe has seen a boost in renewable energy since the pandemic. Solar energy across the European Union has seen major growth with solar power accounting for 12% of its electricity from May and August 2022, compared to 5.2% in 2020.

The question remains of whether this level of production can continue and be fully exploited to its full potential. However, all signs look positive if Europe can manage its battery storage rollout in line with its renewable energy generation.

Solar panel farms and renewable energy infrastructure is being developed across Europe at a revolutionary pace. We don’t need a crystal ball to feel about predicting another record-breaking summer next year.

However, the excess energy from the summer needs to be conserved through battery storage to allow the system to achieve its full potential.

Discover Renewable Energy with Green Switch Capital

Achieving net zero is only possible when every country plays its part in unlocking the potential of green energy. Our mission at Green Switch Capital is to work with hundreds of landowners across the UK to create a sustainable, self-reliant energy market in the UK.

Investing in renewables is a win-win for everyone. It allows landowners to earn passive income by allowing us to repurpose their land for renewable energy infrastructure. They benefit from lower energy costs, and the surrounding community can access green energy from the local network.

We’ve already invested over £350 million in renewable diversification which is translating into 150,000+ tonnes of CO2 carbon savings every year.

Find out how you can do your part in the global mission to reach net zero by contacting our team here.