Sun Investment Group (SIG) has claimed as many as 120 million citizens, or 20 per cent of Europeans are still living in what some energy experts have called “energy poverty”.
The most common indicator of energy poverty according to SIG is households spending more than 10 per cent of their budget on energy bills, a problem it attributes to the European Commission’s regulated energy costs, which were originally implemented after Word War II to establish fixed energy process.
“…The regulations have led to the creation of a European energy monopoly in which the average price of heating and other utility bills range between EUR 500 per-year in the union’s poorest member states such as Slovakia, and EUR 2,300 p/a in wealthier countries such as Sweden,” SIG said.
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With the EU seeking to have all 28 member states sourcing 15 per cent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020 and 32.5 per cent by 2030, alternative energy such as solar power is being viewed by households as a way of reducing their energy bills.
In September 2018, the European Commission eliminated tariffs on imported Chinese-made solar panels – as a result, prices of solar panels are expected to fall as low as 30 per cent. The solar energy market is also expected to grow by 23 per cent on 2017, or EUR 11.3bn.
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As way of tackling the issue of having the highest energy costs in the EU, Spain scrapped its controversial solar energy tax. The success of the scheme has led to its government announcing that it is aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.
“Energy poverty should not even be a topic in the European Union in 2018,” said Sun Investment Group’s chief business development officer Andrius Terskovas. “Yet with the fall in price of photovoltaics, significant growth in the market, and EU governments taking the issues of their renewable energy commitments more seriously than ever, we expect solar energy to significantly reduce and ultimately eradicate the problem of energy poverty.”