Autumn sun shines brightly

by Walburga Hemetsberger - 6 November 2023
The leaves are changing colour and the days are getting shorter, but the sun still shines brightly. October was an eventful month for SolarPower Europe, with one key highlight being our biggest event of the year: RE-Source 2023.

It was incredible to see this event back again for another year, bigger and better than ever before. 1400 participants gathered at a brand new location in Amsterdam, to discuss the latest policy developments and gain insights into the world of corporate sourcing of renewables. We hit a new record of 350 renewable energy buyers attending; a huge milestone for the PPA world.


When the event started out in 2017, we had 1 GW of PPAs signed in Europe that year. At this point in the year, Europe has already signed 7.8 GW for 2023, marking a rebound from market contraction last year. Each and every player is making a key difference to the renewable energy landscape, and for our planet, energy security, and prosperity.

As we accelerate towards more and more renwables in the European energy mix, it is just as crucial that we address the obstacles that could block our path. Namely, challenges to grid connection, and ensuring a competitive European solar industry.


On the topic of grids, we were pleased to launch this month our new Solar Connection paper in collaboration with Eurelectric. This paper is the result of several high-level roundtable discussions with network operators on the challenges grid connection poses to solar development. The paper offers a forward-looking approach to network planning, standardised procedures, digitalisation, more transparent data exchange and a comprehensive assessment of flexibility tools.   


A key step in securing a competitive European manufacturing base for Europe is reinforcing sustainable supply chains. This month, following the successful conclusion of the pilot project and multi-stakeholder consultation, we launched the new Solar Stewardship Initiative (SSI) ESG Standard.


The SSI, set up by SolarPower Europe and Solar Energy UK, is the first-ever solar supply chain assurance scheme, working to further develop confidence in how, where, and by whom, solar products are manufactured. 


The new SSI ESG Standard is a true landmark for the solar PV industry. Independent assessors will use the tailored, comprehensive, Standard to evaluate the ESG performance of a solar production site. We now have an effective, solar-specific, compass to guide our supply chain sustainability journey – which is endorsed by the international finance community. The next step will be ensuring efforts like the SSI are recognised formally in upcoming EU legislation, to support the solar sector’s ability to deliver Europe’s sustainability commitments.


We would like to extend a very warm thank you to all stakeholders who have played a fundamental role in getting this scheme off the ground, a step forward that will be crucial to empowering Europe’s solar industry. The SSI is now open for membership applications for 2024, and will host a webinar on the 9th November to explain the Standards, governance, and how you can get involved. Membership is open to solar companies, as well as NGOs and wider stakeholders working on ESG. 


From business connection at RE-Source 2023 and doubling down our efforts on grids with system operators, to empowering businesses to take the next step in their sustainability journey – this month has been defined by the spirit of collaboration. Together, we are making significant steps towards a sustainable, solar-powered future.

Walburga Hemetsberger


CEO, SolarPower Europe