Frontlines of the energy transition: Elena Bernardi, R&D Specialist at BayWa r.e.

The recent boom of solar energy in Europe is a cause for celebration. Having quickly become the cleanest and most cost-effective energy source, solar is now gearing up for massive deployments in 2020. Indeed, after a stellar year for installations in Europe, with a 110% increase and over 20GW of capacity added, the future of solar looks brighter than ever.

Where solar really soars is in its immense employment potential, where it creates more jobs per installed watt than any other power generation source. As a result of new installations, and research and development, solar jobs are expected to double by 2021 compared to 2016. In Europe alone, solar can create up to 500,000 jobs by 2030, and 1.7 million by 2050. These jobs are highly-skilled and local, and can help deliver a European Green Deal for all by targeting former coal regions for solar projects – sites that have untapped solar potential, and are thus attractive business environments for solar deployment and manufacturing. In fact, a recent Joint Research Centre study found solar to be particularly suitable for employing former coal workers and to help drive regional development.

In this series of articles, SolarPower Europe catches up with the people behind the power, putting a spotlight on those who work in the solar sector. Today, we talked with Elena Bernardi, R&D Specialist at BayWa r.e., a global full-service provider for renewable energy.

Why did you choose to work in the solar sector?

The two main reasons why I chose to work in the solar sector are the exponential growth of the solar energy industry, and the contribution that I can offer to preserve the environment.

What is your favourite aspect of working in the solar industry?

Feeling rewarded at the end of the day, having done something beneficial for people and the environment.

Tell us about your day-to-day activities?

I work in the R&D department and my daily activities are mostly oriented around finding new solutions to optimise the gains of our customers’ solar PV plants.

What is something most people do not know about solar?

Unfortunately, there is a lot that people don’t know about solar – starting from the basics. People are unaware of all of the positives of solar and how it can help to avert climate change.

What do you think the future of the solar sector will look like?

The solar sector will keep growing – this is the only way to guarantee a future to the coming generations. We are making a huge effort to speed up the process of solar deployment, and once there is more awareness of solar’s many benefits, the future of the sector will be nothing but sunny.

Photo: Baywa r.e.

Do you work in the solar sector? We’d love to hear from you and how your work is contributing to the energy transition. Send your stories to

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