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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 404913, 10 pages
Review Article

Photovoltaics: Reviewing the European Feed-in-Tariffs and Changing PV Efficiencies and Costs

1Department of Chemical Engineering, Chemical and Biochemical Process Technology and Control, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium
2Department of Chemical Engineering, Process Engineering for Sustainable Systems, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium
3School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK

Received 13 January 2014; Revised 15 April 2014; Accepted 16 April 2014; Published 14 May 2014

Academic Editor: Marco Sorrentino

Copyright © 2014 H. L. Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) mechanisms have been important in boosting renewable energy, by providing a long-term guaranteed subsidy of the kWh-price, thus mitigating investment risks and enhancing the contribution of sustainable electricity. By ongoing PV development, the contribution of solar power increases exponentially. Within this significant potential, it is important for investors, operators, and scientists alike to provide answers to different questions related to subsidies, PV efficiencies and costs. The present paper therefore (i) briefly reviews the mechanisms, advantages, and evolution of FiT; (ii) describes the developments of PV, (iii) applies a comprehensive literature-based model for the solar irradiation to predict the PV solar energy potential in some target European countries, whilst comparing output predictions with the monthly measured electricity generation of a 57 m² photovoltaic system (Belgium); and finally (iv) predicts the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) in terms of investment and efficiency, providing LCOE values between 0.149 and 0.313 €/kWh, as function of the overall process efficiency and cost. The findings clearly demonstrate the potential of PV energy in Europe, where FiT can be considerably reduced or even be eliminated in the near future.