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On 21st June, Europe's brightest solar day, SolarPower Europe organised a two-part event celebrating the incredible achievements of solar.
The SolarPower Dialouges brought together leading energy players including Vice-President of the European Commission Maros Sefcovic and Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE to discuss how solar is driving the European energy transition.
President of SolarPower Europe, Dr Christian Westermeier opened the event stating: "Today is the day of the year with the most hours of daylight in Europe, thus this is the best moment to show what solar brings to our continent" adding, "I am convinced that solar will be the cheapest, cleanest and - more importantly - the most accessible source of energy for European citizens within the next 10 years".
Westermeier applauded the European Commission's Clean Energy Package published in November 2016, stating: "Vice-President Sefcovic, you presented an ambitious legislative packager to ensure that clean energy is made accessible to all Europeans. I want to tell you that the solar industry is fully behind you".
EU Vice-President Maros Sefcovic stated "Solar power is essential to make the EUs plan of providing Europe with secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy, a reality. It is a technology that puts the consumer at the heart of the energy system and as such is crucial to the delivery of the Energy Union strategy." Sefcovic continued "Solar is already affordable, but the industry needs to do more to get the word out on the benefits of this technology".
Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE, explained the rationale for her corporation's strategic move to invest in solar. "The energy revolution is full of opportunities. It will allow us to modernise our entire energy system, and thus our economy, to tackle the climate change issue, to provide reliable and affordable energy to all including those in the most deprived regions of this world. Solar will play a prominent role in this new energy system."
Alison Finch, Chief Marketing Officer for Huawei Solar Europe, pointed out that solar plays a lead role in the digital energy transition, stating, "Our society is becoming more connected, more collaborative and more intelligent than ever before. The digital transformation of solar is one good example of this transformation and will not be delivered by one company alone. Companies across the sector are already collaborating to construct the foundations that will support 'smart' solar on a global scale."
Finch referred specifically to SolarPower Europe's Digitalisation and Solar Task Force recent industry commitments to increase digitalisation in the sector. "More than 60 experts have been involved in creating these commitments, which shows how serious we are about this topic."
Next followed a lively panel discussion with MEP Kaja Kallas, Fabrizio Bizzarri Enel's Head of Solar Innovation and Trina Solar's Jan Jacob Boom-Wichers, Head of Sales Europe.
Need to remove barriers to trading energy for solar to thrive @TrinaSolar_EU more important consumer empowerment @kajakallas #EUSEW17
@TrinaSolar_EU Jan Boom-Wichers says they've now installers selling 100% #solar w/ #battery storage in EU. @SolarPowerEU #MidsummerSolar
The smart energy consumer is here but the take off is coming @SolarPowerEU @TrinaSolar_EU @kajakallas @BBCkatyaadler #EUSEW17
The SolarPower Dialogues ended on a high note with the launch of the SolarPower Live Map, the most dynamic and accurate tool for close to real-time mapping of solar power generation in Europe. Geert Palmers, CEO of 3E presented the map stating, "We made this map to show that day-by-day solar is powering the energy transition in Europe", to big applause from the audience.
Then it was time for the Midsummer Celebration Party. Over 300 policymakers and industry experts made their way to the Renaissance Hotel for an epic outdoor party with free ice cream, drinks and giveaways. We also had great speakers; Paula Abreu Marques, Head of Unit for Renewables and CCS Policy at DG Energy, European Commission and Ahmed-Sami Ait Hagga, Sales Director, Solar PV Inverter at Huawei Technologies.
Our favourite tweets from the celebration:
Thank you @SolarPowerEU for a lovely #SummerSolstice celebration, including #SolarPower'ed ice cream!
Fantastic day in #Brussels @euenergyweek with final drink @SolarPowerEU Midsummer celebration. Thx everyone!
At @SolarPowerEU summer solstice party! Support for solar in the EU is strong, needs to be celebrated!
Longest day, sunniest day Thanks, @SolarPowerJames @SolarPowerEU
I am #solarpower famous! Thanks @SolarPowerEU & @SolarPowerJames for a great #midsummer celebration