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Supporting the continued rollout of solar parks across Europe 

Kenneth Johansson, Global Director of Renewables, NKT Applications

2022 was yet another record-breaking year for the solar industry in Europe. Solar Europe estimates that more than 41GW solar capacity was installed in 2022, a 50% increase from 2021, and a 100% increase since 2020. Solar Europe and the IEA expect this trend to continue in the coming years in order to accelerate the energy transition, reduce dependency on fossil fuels and to meet carbon reduction targets. REPowerEU alone includes ambitions of 750GW of solar by 2030. These are exciting times.  
In tandem with the growing installation base, we are seeing a direct correlation with increasing solar power generation. In 2022, wind and solar generated a record 22% of electricity in Europe (See below graphs).  
Graph Renewable 2022
Figure 1
Graph 2 Renewables
Figure 2

Regulation will help smooth the process  

Currently, in some European countries it can take up to 4-5 years to obtain a permit for solar projects. Procedures are bureaucratic and lack digitalization which result in a high burden for project developers. If we are to achieve the ambitious goals for carbon neutrality and renewable energy, then this must change.  
In the end of 2022, the EU approved new legislation to speed up the permitting process in order to accelerate the installation of renewable energy project across Europe. This is welcome news, and we hope to see faster permitting processes in the months and years to come in order to meet the goals laid out in REPowerEU.   
In addition to speed, we need improved spatial planning and permitting procedures, to be designed in harmony with people and nature. We hope the upcoming revision of European National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs), expected for June 2023, will improve things further.  

Ensuring a sustainable and reliable supply chain  

As a part of the journey to continuously reduce the carbon footprint of our products and solutions, NKT recently launched an innovative project in Sweden to produce and install low-carbon 1 kV cables for the local power grid in the city of Oljonsbyn. The cables will be manufactured with low-carbon aluminium and polyfines at our factory in Falun, Sweden, which is already running on 100% renewable electricity. At NKT, we are on a journey to embed sustainability into everything we do. We also recently announced the production of the world's first HVDC power cable using low-carbon copper.  
Will Hendrikx, EVP Applications says: “This is a game changer in the development of an energy infrastructure built with innovative, low-carbon solutions. We see a growing market demand for more environmentally friendly products and solutions and are proud to be among the first to deliver an innovative low voltage cable after a close collaboration with our customers and suppliers.”  
We hope that sustainability initiatives like these will be taken into consideration on future solar projects so that like-minded companies can work together to support and drive the green transition. 

Optimizing energy projects and maximizing efficiency  

Different companies, large and small, are developing solar projects. Some project developers have a lot of expertise within this field, while others may be relatively new to it. What is important is that we develop efficient and productive solar parks. That is why we lean so much on our engineering expertise to advise clients. We see a lot of projects misjudge the load patterns of renewable energy and often select the wrong cable size for the job. This can lead to significant energy waste which negatively impacts the climate and the profitability of the project. Cable sizing is about finding the right cable for the right project, as every project is a little bit different.  

More solar milestone ahead  

We look forward to supporting more and more solar projects in the coming years and increasing the share of electricity from renewable power across Europe. Reaching the Terawatt milestone by end of the decade would pave the way for a multi-TW solar development towards 2050 that is needed for the EU to remain on track to deliver on its climate ambitions.  
NKT will be a natural partner in this journey to connect a greener world.