Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies can help the country meet the capacity goal by the 2020 deadline.

Hungary’s economy has been performing strongly since 2012, with a GDP growth rate of 2.2 percent in 2016 and a projected growth rate of 3.7 percent through 2017. The main driver of this positive development is an increase in private consumption, which is underpinned by continued strong real wage and employment growth, supported by an increasingly robust and profitable banking sector.

As an EU member state, Hungary is subject to a binding target of 13 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020. Currently the share amounts to only 11 percent, making Hungary one of the countries with the smallest penetration of renewable energy in the EU. Therefore, the government must boost solar power generation. In July 2017, the European Commission approved a Hungarian support plan for renewable energy with an annual budget of €144 billion, which will be partially open to foreign producers.

Hungary boasts relatively strong solar resources compared with other European countries, with an average annual irradiation of 1,300kWh/m2. Solar photovoltaic power in Hungary increased from about 7.9 GWh in 2012 to 123 GWh in 2015, and in 2016 reached 174 GWh. In 2018 and 2019, the installation of new projects amounting to 2 GW is planned. The Hungarian government puts a particular focus on supporting smaller solar plants with a capacity of up to 0.5 megawatts.

In particular, U.S. producers and project development companies are able to contribute to the growth of the Hungarian solar market with their expertise. All kinds of products are needed, especially finished solar panels. According to the Hungarian government, solar panels must be recyclable and have a product life expectancy of 20 to 30 years—and this is something U.S. companies are prepared to offer.

In 2017 the U.S. and Hungary exchanged goods and services worth more than $5.7 million. Exports of electrical products increased slightly, from around $1.5 million in 2016 to $1.7 million in 2017.

Wisconsin companies interested in exploring these opportunities should consider attending the Renewable Energies Ökoindustria trade show taking place in Budapest in November 2019, and the Reneo trade fair on clean energy in Budapest in April 2018 . Further information on the Hungarian renewable energy sector can be found on the Hungarian Investment Promotion website.