Best Conference 2021


Solar energy: the sky’s the limit

Ongoing technological advances means that solar energy has the potential to produce more clean electricity than ever before. Whether on a roof or covering a field, the energy generated by solar panels could significantly boost our renewables output.

The Commission now plans to harness that potential. Part of its newly unveiled REPowerEU plan, its Solar Strategy aims to bring over 320 GW of solar photovoltaics (PV) online by 2025. That figure will increase to 600 GW by 2030.

Solar energy has several advantages that make it particularly useful for meeting our current energy challenges. Solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal technologies can be rolled out quickly and cheaply. This is because solar energy costs have plummeted in recent years. PV costs have fallen by 82% over the past decade, making it one of the most competitive sources of electricity in the EU.

The Commission’s newly unveiled strategy outlined four initiatives to help quicken the pace of rollout.

Firstly, it wants to promote quick and massive PV rollout through the European Solar Rooftops Initiative. Secondly, it wants to make permitting procedures shorter and simpler – one of the issues flagged by Eurelectric in its public consultation on the solar strategy. Thirdly, a new partnership will bring together the relevant stakeholders to focus on upskilling and reskilling. Lastly, it plans to launch a European Solar PV Industry Alliance to facilitate innovation-led expansion of the EU’s industrial solar value chain.


What’s in the strategy?

According to yesterday’s document, the EU will, among others:

  • Increase its 2030 target for renewables share to 45%.
  • Limit the length of permitting for rooftop solar installations, including large ones, to a maximum of 3 months.
  • Adopt provisions to ensure that all new buildings are “solar ready”.
  • Make the installation of rooftop solar energy compulsory for:
    –  new public and commercial buildings with useful floor area larger than 250m2 by 2026
    – all existing public and commercial buildings with useful floor area larger than 250m2 by 2027
    – new residential buildings by 2029

The need for faster rollout of renewables will be one of the hottest topics at this year’s Power Summit. See our full programme.