Portugal and Spain are the most competitive in solar energy, according to officials from Galp and international sector experts. The sun will be the main basis for the energy transition in the European Union and will guarantee the independence of the 27 member states from Russia’s fossil fuel sources. At the “Clean Energy Forum Outlook 2023” solar energy debate, international speakers highlighted the privileged context of Portugal and Spain in the production of renewable energy due to the abundance of sun and wind, the decrease in the installation costs of photovoltaic panels, and the imperative need to invest in solar storage. “We have already won the cost race with solar; it is the most competitive energy source in the world. The decrease in the installation costs of photovoltaic panels has been enormous, with a reduction in the past nine to ten years of 19% in total cost,” said Carlos Relancio, head of Renewables at Galp. Another important factor mentioned in the debate was the intrinsic connection between solar and green hydrogen. “When REPowerEU was established, after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, it was declared the intention to replace some fossil fuels with green hydrogen. Now, the only way to have H2 is through renewable electricity. The two main sources for producing green hydrogen and then synthetic fuels of biological origin are really through solar and wind energy,” said Pedro Amaral Jorge, president of the Portuguese Association of Renewable Energies (APREN). In the European Union, research and innovation are increasingly being directed towards solar energy. Wolfram Sparber, vice president of the Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centers (Eurec) and head of the Institute for Renewables Energy at Eurac Research, referred to the (short) historical period of the evolution of this energy source. “I did my master’s thesis in photovoltaic technology (PV). At the beginning, a PV system cost 45,000 euros for a family home and I remember talking to people who thought solar was a waste of time. And now we see where we have arrived, solar energy has become the cheapest energy source.” Pedro Amaral Jorge, president of APREN, located this evolution, which occurred in the last decade. “Ten years ago, a PV system would cost 400 euros per megawatt-hour and in a decade the average price of the megawatt-hour has fallen to 25 to 30 euros. We are replacing fossil fuels not only because it is ecological but because it is economically competitive and can lead us to energy independence and supply security.” In this race, Portugal and Spain start in very advantageous conditions. “The Iberian Peninsula is the European region with the greatest solar and wind potential and the lowest costs of installation and maintenance of photovoltaic systems and wind turbines,” said Pedro Amaral Jorge.
Europe Portugal and Spain leading the way in solar energy