- Why is the Buildings and Prosumers workstream important?
This workstream addresses one of the most promising paths to a sustainable decarbonisation, one that democratises the energy system, and which offers various business and innovation opportunities.
First, buildings are a cornerstone of any decarbonisation strategy. They account for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of emissions. Decarbonising the building stock will require working on multiple dimensions; electrifying heating and cooling and sourcing it with onsite solar energy is a major avenue to reach this goal.
Secondly, buildings will also be the center stage for the future energy citizen. Coupled with digitalisation, consumers have the opportunity to take a leading role in the energy transition, producing energy by installing solar panels on their rooftops and offering flexibility to the system through their heat pumps or storage devices, such as electric vehicles or batteries.
Thirdly, we are in the middle of a dramatic energy crisis where there is a sense of urgency to increase renewables as fast as possible to gain our energy independence and lower electricity bills. Rooftop solar is the low hanging fruit that can rapidly respond to these challenges, due to its competitive prices and low environmental impacts.
Finally, EU Member States are currently implementing the clean energy package at the same time they are negotiating a regulatory framework adapted to more ambitious climate and energy targets and to the current energy crisis. This means there is a window of opportunity to improve the regulatory framework. For instance, we believe that the framework for sharing energy in community type projects should be made more flexible, enabling the private sector to offer solutions which would overcome financial constraints affecting households and SMEs. Another example refers to the public sector which should be a leading example in ensuring that their significant building stock rapidly adheres to solar self-consumption projects. Postponing such investments imply not only lost savings in carbon emissions but also in taxpayer contributions.
In sum, by gathering the inputs from the solar industry, research institutions and associations and establishing a dialogue with other stakeholders in the built environment, this workstream can be key to unlock the huge potential offered by buildings and prosumers.
2. Why should companies join this workstream?
The regulatory framework affecting the buildings and onsite solar environment is undergoing major changes at a very fast pace. Think of the complex negotiations on the Fit for 55 package, the REPowerEU package and other initiatives to address the energy crisis. Joining the workstream offers a very effective way to be up to speed with the changing regulatory framework. This is critical to understand the changes that can affect the business environment and ensure new opportunities are not missed.
Furthermore, the working method promotes the participation and collaboration of companies and allows them to have a say in the main policy files, helping to shape a more robust and constructive voice from the solar industry at EU level.
Last but not least, another key advantage when joining the workstream is to have the ability to learn from best practices, get updated on innovative trends and engage in collaborative projects. Being part of the workstream gives access to a wide range of companies in the solar industry value chain with excellent expertise in different geographies and topics.
3. What will the future of the Buildings and Prosumers Workstream look like?
Studies estimate that by 2050, 83% of families will be true “energy citizens”, producing renewable energy by installing solar panels on their roofs, and contributing to the flexibility of the system. Already today, we see that more and more corporates and households want to become managers of their own energy sources, either by acting individually or collectively.
I also expect that the workstream will continue to attract companies from a wider range of areas and this is positive. We need an integrated vision across many sectors, including electric mobility, energy efficiency, smart technology and sustainable construction materials.
Building this decentralised future will require a lot of work, creativity and collaboration. The Buildings and Prosumers Workstream will thus continue to rise in relevance.
"I am very honored to serve as chair of the Buildings and Prosumers Workstream. At Greenvolt we see this as a huge opportunity and responsibility. There is a need to unlock the vast potential of solar energy in buildings, which offers a robust solution to lower electricity bills with minimal environmental impact and increase our energy independence. SolarPower Europe and its members can count on our full commitment and enthusiasm to help drive this agenda which puts the consumer at the heart of the energy transition."