Renewables records in the European Union

About two-thirds of all the solar panels installed around the world in 2011 found homes in Europe, reports the European Union Joint Research Center. Collectively, European countries installed 18.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar in 2011 – an investment of $84 billion – bringing the region’s capacity to 52 GW. Germany accounts for 30 GW of that.

Wind generation hits another record: wind plants in Europe still generate twice as much energy as solar – recently reaching 100 GW, reports the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). It is twice the installed wind capacity in the US, as of the end of 2011. The vast majority of the 100 GW is onshore wind, and big offshore projects are planned. Offshore, would could quickly ramp to 100 GW is being held back by financing, but the biggest obstacle is lack of grid infrastructure.