EU Solar Strategy Explained

A new dawn for European Solar

On 18 May 2022, the European Commission published the REPowerEU package setting out the roadmap for ending reliance on imported Russian fossil fuels. The package of announcements included a first-of-its-kind EU Solar Strategy increasing solar ambition in Europe by 43% and uncovering several steps to speed up solar deployment: new guidance on permitting, a Solar Rooftops Initiative, a Solar PV Industry Alliance and a Solar Skills Partnership.
© SolarPower Europe

The unprecedented EU Solar Strategy aims to proivde the right framework to massively deploy solar PV energy in Europe, and sets out new objectives of almost 320 GWac (400 GWdc) by 2025 and almost 600 GWac target for EU solar by 2030 – equivalent to 750 GWdc. This target is higher than SolarPower Europe Global Market Outlook business-as-usual projections of 672 GWdc by the end of the decade. From the initial Fit for 55 package proposals that translated into 420 GWac of solar, today’s new 592 GWac goal increases EU solar ambition by 43%.  

 

The strategy includes three dimensions: a facilitated deployment of solar PV, an access to sustainable solar products and a strengthening of international sooperation in the field of solar energy. Among the flagship measures proposed:

A new European Solar Rooftops Initiative sets the objective of adding 19 TWh (i.e. 16 to 19 GW) of rooftop solar in the first year of its implementation and 58 TWh by 2025 (i.e. 50.7 to 58 GW). 

 

The main element to achieve these objectives is the introduction of a solar mandate on all new public and commercial buildings with useful floor area larger than 250 m² by 2026, on all existing public and commercial buildings with useful floor area larger than 250 m² by 2027, and on all new residential buildings by 2029.  

 

The EU proposes to ensure that at least one renewable energy community is set up in every municipality with a population higher than 10,000 people by 2025. It will also support member states in implementing collective self-consumption and energy community frameworks. 

"We are increasing the 2030 target for EU renewable energy from 40% to 45%. And we come with a host of actions to scale up and speed up the clean energy transition."
© Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, European Union, 2022
©

A new EU Solar PV Industry Alliance, which endorses the European Solar Initiative objective of 20 GW of solar PV manufacturing in Europe in 2025. 

 

The Alliance will build on SolarPower Europe and EIT InnoEnergy’s European Solar Initiative and will provide advice to the EU and the member states, as well as facilitating match-making between producers and off-takers.

 

It will also map and coordinate funding from relevant EU programmes, including InvestEU, the Innovation Fund, the Recovery and Resilience Fund and Cohesion Policies. 

A new EU Solar Skills Partnership, which should be part of a larger scale skills partnership for onshore renewable energy.

 

The partnership, still to be operationalised, will develop a clear understanding of the concrete up- and reskilling measures needed, and foster cooperation between industry, social partners, training providers and regional authorities, and unlock EU funding.

 

Additionally, member states are encouraged to analyse the skills gap in the solar sector and to develop corresponding training programs. The partnership will take into account the potential to increase the participation of women in the sector.

“By 2030 the share of wind and solar energy in power production capacities should double from the current level of 33% to 67%. And by then solar energy will also be the largest electricity source in the EU with more than half coming from rooftops.”
© Kadri Simson, EU Commissioner for Energy, European Union, 2022
Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe on the EU Solar Strategy
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