Solar Energy The Rising Star of Renewable Energy: A Panel Data Analysis of the European Union's Solar Energy Market

Cornelius Albrecht Schulken

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines the relationship between the deployment of solar photovoltaic capacities and market orientated institutions – measured by the index of economic freedom – in the European Union by using a panel data analysis. Furthermore, it examines how technological developments, namely the prices for solar panels and for lithium ion battery storage have influenced the deployment of capacities in the EU. Solar energy photovoltaic capacities have been one of the major drivers in the deployment of renewable energy capacities in recent years. Prices for panels reduced significantly and enabled solar energy to become increasingly competitive with fossil fuel capacities. Especially the EU has been on the forefront of deploying solar capacities to achieve their 2020, 2030 and 2050 goals. The findings of this thesis show a positive relationship between investment and trade freedom, and the deployment of solar energy capacities. Furthermore, the thesis’ results indicate a positive relationship between the amount of government spending and the deployment of solar capacities. With regards to technological aspects, the results indicate a positive relationship between decreasing prices for solar panels and the deployment of capacities in the EU. The thesis aims to contribute towards the currently available research on solar energy deployment by utilizing an interdisciplinary approach that accounts for various aspects. This approach can support a better understanding of the dynamics present in the European solar photovoltaic market, both out of an economic and a political perspective.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages90
SupervisorsMaria J. Figueroa