Mission Solar has lift off!

by Walburga Hemetsberger - 22 March 2024
Spring is officially in the air in Brussels as we approach the end of an action-packed month. We started off March in the best way, with our flagship SolarPower Summit exploring #MissionSolar. Over 440 attendees joined us, alongside 115+ distinguished speakers to launch into the most pressing topics for our sector, ahead of the EU Elections 2024 and the next EU energy mandate.

The solar sector has been on an incredible journey the past few years. We have witnessed amazing growth, with a record 56 GW of solar PV installed in Europe in 2023 – that's almost 17 million more European homes powered by the sun. 


To ensure that solar continues on this trajectory, and beyond, we have published our #SolarForEurope Manifesto highlighting five priorities for the EU energy agenda in the next five years. Solar for climate, competitiveness, people, energy security, and nature.


We were delighted to welcome European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič for an opening keynote speech, as well as words from our President, Aristotelis Chantavas; and MEP Maria da Graça Carvalho. Day two started off strong again with opening from EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson and Croatian Energy Minister Damir Habijan. We were honoured to present Commissioner Simson with the EU Solar Champion Award for being a true solar ambassador during her time in office, powering through the EU Solar Strategy which we now see being made law two years later.


This year was particularly powerful as we had some big activities happening in parallel to the Summit. In addition to joining two Clean Energy Transition Dialogues the previous week with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, on Monday 4th March, I was invited by the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU to attend the Energy Council meeting, sharing the solar sector’s key messages with Energy Ministers from across the 27 EU states. Belgian Energy Minister Tinne van der Straeten offered closing words during our SolarPower Summit to comment on the meeting:

“It was really good to have SolarPower Europe represented there in the room… It was shared by all energy ministers that solar contributes to the energy transition - from sunny Spain to cloudy Ireland. We can all count on solar to reach our renewable energy targets.”
Tinne van der Straeten, Belgian Energy Minister

Another activity that took place in parallel to the Summit was our annual solar CEO forum that brought together Europe’s leading solar CEOs with key EU policymakers to exchange on key topics for the sector: Supporting solar PV investment; reshoring European solar manufacturing and building sustainable and diversified solar supply chains; boosting grids and flexibility; growing the skilled solar workforce; implementing agreed measures to accelerate renewables permitting.

Meanwhile, the policy calendar in Brussels is wrapping up ahead of EU elections in June, with the closing of some important legislative files. The European Parliament passed the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, another big win for solar rooftops with now only the Council left to rubberstamp the EU Solar Rooftop Standard. EU Ambassadors also approved the final text of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive; together with the recently agreed Forced Labour Ban, the CSDDD will be an integral tool to support supply chain sustainability.


We are pleased to see these important policy files coming to fruition as the current EU mandate nears its close. With the 2024 EU Elections drawing closer, we are also proud to continue our Shine On Policycast Elections Season with special interviews with MEPs, with the first one starring MEP Nicolás González Casares in conversation with our Policy Director, Dries Acke. Watch the full episode here.


Let’s continue the work to see Mission Solar deliver a clean energy vision for Europe, with solar at its core.

Walburga Hemetsberger


CEO, SolarPower Europe