Hungarian solar power makes huge leap in 2023, 18% of all energy generated from solar

By Dénes Albert
4 Min Read

The Hungarian solar industry has experienced rapid development, with its biggest expansion last year, which saw 1.6 gigawatts of solar panels installed, said Energy Minister Csaba Lantos at a press conference in Brussels on Monday.

Lantos, attending a meeting of energy ministers from EU member states, said that by the beginning of this year, more than 6 gigawatts of solar panels had been installed in the country.

Last year, 18 percent of the electricity generated in Hungary came from solar panels, a significant achievement, with the country ranking second in the EU in this comparison. The target of 6 gigawatts was only to be reached by 2030, but as Hungary has already met this, the target has been raised to 12 gigawatts by the end of the same period.

In this spirit, the government has announced various programs and subsidies, one of which is the Solar Energy Plus program, which supports families in the production and storage of green energy. He pointed out that in addition to solar energy, there is a need for balancing capacity to store the electricity generated by solar.

The minister noted that the EU climate targets for 2050 require 80 to 90 gigawatts of energy generated by solar panels per year, but the EU is only producing 2 gigawatts. He said Europe should not compete with U.S. or Chinese production, but should ensure its competitiveness in this field through innovative technology.

Speaking about the future of the nuclear industry — Hungary’s largest single domestic power source — he said that in recent years the EU has provided far less funding for the sector, but has since reclassified nuclear energy as green energy in its taxonomy regulation, partly as a result of climate change; it has also reintroduced subsidies. Under the Hungarian EU presidency, the issue of how to recycle used fuel from power plants will be on the agenda.

The minister additionally said that Hungary supports the extension of the Russian-Ukrainian gas transit contract, which expires at the end of 2024, despite the fact that Hungary is currently not supplied from this direction.

Lantos said that Hungary, along with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, had written to the European Commission because the transit tariff on Russian gas imposed by Germany was raising costs and threatening the competitiveness of their industries.

“Our position is that no one should introduce measures that impose higher costs on individual member states without justification. We are also in favor of diversifying gas supplies, but not at the cost of putting others at a disadvantage,” the minister said.

“This is not a major security issue now, but it could become one,” he said.

According to Lantos, gas demand reduction in the EU has worked well, and energy prices have stabilized. The reduction rate set by the EU was 15 percent, while Hungary achieved 19 percent.

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