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Updated November 02, 2020

While renewables have remained the largest source of generation in Europe for the sixth consecutive quarter, solar generation shrank in the third quarter, according to a new report from energy consultancy EnAppSys.

Europe’s solar generation hit a historic high of 47.6 TWh in the second quarter, thanks partly to favorable weather conditions. However, in the following quarter it slumped by 26% to 35.1 TWh, the lowest in the third quarter since 2016.

In the three months to the end of September, the total green energy output across the continent grew by 8% year-on-year to 264.5 TWh, the highest amount of renewable generation seen in any other third quarter in history.

EnAppSys said that demand has “recovered strongly” after it slumped at the end of the first quarter as much of Europe was sent into a coronavirus lockdown. By the end of the third quarter, European demand has returned to the level of the same period last year.

The report stated that Europe’s total production from fossil fuels and nuclear was recovering from its low levels in the second quarter. This was because the easing of lockdown restrictions had lifted energy demand Europe-wide and both sources had helped meet the growing energy demand in Europe. Yet, Europe’s total energy production from both sources was down from the same period last year, by 4% for fossil fuels and 15% for nuclear year-on-year.

If looks at the individual technology types rather than groupings, nuclear power contributed the most of electricity generation in Europe, followed by natural gas and hydropower.

Director Jean-Paul Harreman of EnAppSys said that while overall European demand recovered as lockdown restrictions eased, demand differs from country to country.

The table below presents top 10 countries ranked by installation and cumulative PV installed capacity in 2019.

Top 10 countries for installations and installed pv capacity in 2019

“At the end of the third quarter, COVID-19 cases rose again in Europe. Some countries have reintroduced measures to hold off or prevent a second wave of the virus. As we enter the final quarter of this year, demand may change again as countries implement different measures to slow the virus’s spread,” added Harreman.