PARIS, FRANCE: With more than 31 GW of new solar PV capacity installed worldwide in 2012, of which 55 percent in Europe, the old continent is still a leader in the development of PV. But the results of 2012 also signal a turning point that will have profound implications in the coming years.
PV industry leaders gathered at the 10th European PV Industry Summit, organised by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), to discuss the future of PV at European and global levels.
Re-inforced by the adoption in 2009 of the Energy & Climate Package that introduced legally binding targets for renewables by 2020, Europe has established itself as world leader in developing renewable energy markets and technologies. However, current difficult economic times are challenging public authorities' commitment to supporting the renewable energy industry, including PV.
Launching the debate in a keynote speech, Claude Turmes, Member of the European Parliament, vice-chair of the Group of the Greens/EFA and Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, declared: "The EU must develop a real industrial policy for renewables that supports R&D efforts and improves access to financing. This is of particular importance in order to maintain Europe's position in the global PV value chain and deployment."
In this regard, MEP Claude Turmes added that, "A regulatory framework that would include strong and ambitious binding targets for renewables by 2030 is a crucial element to stimulate the demand and to give investors the visibility and stability they need."
Held in Paris as an Official Parallel Event of the 28th EU PVSEC, the 10th European PV Industry Summit was also the occasion for representatives from the whole PV value chain to stress the need for a reinforced commitment to research, development and innovation (RDI).
In this regard, "recommendations of the Solar Europe Industry Initiative Implementation Plan, that was released a few months ago, should be followed while consolidating the SET Plan (Strategic Energy Technologies Plan)", noted Reinhold Buttgereit, EPIA Secretary General. "These RDI priorities demonstrate that the PV community proactively aims at continuously improving PV competitiveness and reliability, while facilitating further its integration in the energy system."
Speakers at the Summit included Christopher Burghardt, First Solar; Luc de Marliave, Total; Maxine Ghavi, ABB; Virgilio Navarro, Atersa; Christian Westermeier, Wacker Chemie; Eicke Weber, Fraunhofer ISE and Ingmar Wilhelm, EPIA.