Although Portugal is one the sunniest EU countries, its solar PV market has remained low for years, constrained by the policies in place, according to the Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaic until 2015 report.
Solar Power Installed Capacity
Solar PV cumulative capacity is just under 130 MW, and only 16 MW was installed in 2010, less than half the size of the market in 2009. Moreover, all solar power installations were based on projects approved during 2009. In 2012, the total solar power capacity installed in the country reached 244 MW; this represents an increase of 87 % with respect to 2010. The solar power capacity installed represents 1.12 % of the total capacity installed in the country in 2012 and 2.49 % of the total renewables capacity installed in Portugal in that year. According to the solar power capacity installed, Portugal occupies the place number 26 at world level (0.24 % of the total solar capacity installed at that level) and the place 16 at regional level (0.35 % of the total solar capacity installed at that level). During the past ten years, the solar power capacity in Portugal increased in seven years within that period.
Some changes are in sight, as the current legislation (in place since October 2010 for very small residential systems and since March 2011 for medium-sized
systems) is finally providing a stable regulatory environment. The introduction of a FiT for 15 years should increase investors’ confidence, although the FiT will be subject to a decrease of 7 % every year. Here also, a system of multiple restrictions, with a limit of 20 MW a year for small systems and 50 MW a year for medium-sized systems.
Additionally, the government announced in November 2010 a call for tender to finance up to 75 solar PV plants of 2-MW capacity each, and five concentrator PV (CPV) plants of 1 MW, making a total additional capacity of 155 MW. A new call for tender was published in 2013. Officially, the government is taking this approach in order to integrate solar PV into the existing grid where it is most needed and where it does not represent a major challenge in terms of network integration.
Electricity Generation Using Solar Energy
The evolution of the generation of electricity in Portugal using solar energy during the period 2008–2012 is shown in Fig. 4.16.
According to Fig. 4.16, the generation of electricity in Portugal using solar energy during the period 2008–2012 increased 9.5-fold. It is expected that this trend will continue during the coming years.