Norway deployed 300 MW of solar in 2023

Norway reached 597 MW of cumulative installed PV capacity at the end of 2023. The authorities have attributed the record growth the country has posted over the past year to the successful connection of two large-scale PV plants.

Norway reached 597 MW of cumulative installed PV capacity spread across 28,170 solar plants at the end of December, according to new figures from the country’s grid operator, Statnett, via its Elhub subsidiary.

The country added about 300 MW of new PV installations in 2023. By comparison, it installed 152.7 MW in 2022 and 42.7 in 2021.

The largest share of the cumulative capacity is represented by residential PV systems below 20 kW in size, which total around 190 MW, followed by solar systems with capacities ranging from 5oo kW to 1 MW, which account for around 100 MW.

“This robust growth is not merely a numerical feat but a crucial stride towards achieving Norway’s ambitious 2030 target of 8 TWh,” Hassan Gholami, a consultant for Norway’s Multiconsult, told pv magazine. “Foreseeing a continuation of this remarkable trajectory, the market is poised for substantial expansion. I believe that Norway will surpass the 1 GW mark in 2024, with projections reaching an impressive total installed solar PV capacity of 2 GW by the end of 2025.”

Gholami said that the annual growth rate needed to achieve the nation’s 2030 solar generation target of 8 TWh, starting from 0.454 TWh in 2023, stands at 154%.

“With a current solar PV capacity of 600 MW and a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 154%, the projected solar power production for 2025 is estimated to reach approximately 2.4 GW,” he said. “The exponential growth underscores a promising trajectory, suggesting that Norway is poised to meet the envisioned solar capacity milestones.”

He predicts that the country may post its highest growth rates this year, due to new provisions expected from the government.

“Norway is set to revolutionize its renewable energy landscape by mandating solar power in new government buildings from 2024,” he said. “The agreement aims to simplify permitting for commercial solar installations and foster local solar-generated electricity sharing. With a 2030 target of 8 TWh of solar energy annually, equivalent to about 5% of Norway’s average yearly output, this initiative responds to potential power deficits anticipated from 2027 onward. Norway’s current solar production at 0.454 TWh.”

Gholami said that the main market drivers for the solar market in Norway involved several key factors. First, the surge in electricity prices, particularly evident since the latter half of 2021, has played a pivotal role. The higher costs have become a major driver, prompting investments in solar installations as individuals and businesses seek to mitigate rising energy expenses.

Second, regulatory changes and financial support schemes have significantly contributed to market growth. Evolving regulations, driven by a push to enhance local energy generation, coupled with a keen interest among individuals in energy pursuits, have fostered favorable conditions for the emergence of solar energy communities. In addition, financial support schemes at the municipal level and robust investment incentives for solar projects have further driven the expansion of solar energy initiatives.

Finally, the continuous decrease in the cost of PV systems in the market – despite higher waiting times for installations – is a noteworthy driver, said Gholami. This enhances the economic viability of solar projects, making them increasingly attractive to a broader range of consumers and businesses, ultimately propelling the growth of the PV market in Norway.

Gholami said that last year’s growth was also linked to the operation of several utility-scale PV projects.

“These initial forays have yielded promising results,” he explained. “So far, 44 sites have applied for the requisite permissions to obtain licenses for utility-scale solar PV projects across the country, each at varying stages of the approval process, with decisions finalized for some. A comprehensive overview of these projects is available at NVE.no, showcasing robust activity in this sector.”

He said that several companies are active in the burgeoning Norwegian PV market.

“A compelling forecast indicates that several of these entities are poised to realize their first utility-scale solar PV sites by the conclusion of 2025, ushering in a new era of solar energy deployment in Norway,” he said.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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