Live @ COP26: SolarPower Europe Blog

SolarPower Europe is reporting on the events taking place at COP26 in Glasgow. Keep up to date with all things solar at this latest UN Climate Change Conference here on our blog.

Wednesday 10 November

While in Glasgow during the climate conference, Walburga Hemetsberger, SolarPower Europe CEO, visited a solar site installed by a local energy co-operative.

Glasgow Community Energy is a community-owned renewable energy co-operative – a project developed by local people on a largely voluntary basis over the last six years. In 2020, during the coronavirus lockdown, they successfully installed solar panels on the roofs of two schools in Glasgow. The projects save 50 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, while supplying electricity to local schools.

SolarPower Europe were lucky enough to visit GCE’s rooftop solar installation in north-east Glasgow at Ashton Secondary School. Catering for a students with a wide-range of learning barriers, and featuring a swimming pool facility, the school has high energy needs.

While visiting the site, we heard from Calum Whitlaw, Director of Glasgow Community Energy and Tom Nockolds, Project Manager at Energy4All, about how they’re empowering communities to access renewable energy. Community shareholders have invested in the Glasgow projects and will see a financial return, ensuring local and public support for such installations. Even better, a portion of revenue from the energy generation is earmarked for re-investment into more local renewable energy projects. Ultimately the co-operative is creating a cycle of re-investment into local, climate neutral, and low-cost energy generation – tackling the climate crisis and energy poverty in one fell swoop.

Going forward the co-operative hopes to expand its moves in the rooftop sector, and regenerate city-owned brownfield sites with renewable energy installations.

Thursday 4 November

It’s Energy Day at COP26 and SolarPower Europe has partnered with summit organisers through the UK’s Mission to the EU to platform solar as a solution to climate change. SolarPower Europe CEO Walburga Hemetsberger is featured in the Mission’s video campaign showcasing different climate solutions. This comes shortly after the UK launched an international plan to speed up affordable clean energy technology.

Over 40 world leaders have backed and signed up to the new Breakthrough Agenda, including the US, India, EU, China, developing economies and some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change – representing more than 70% of the world’s economy and every region.

The plan will see countries and businesses work closely through a range of leading international initiatives to accelerate innovation and scale up green industries – this includes, for example, stimulating green investment through strong signals to industry about the future economy, aligning policies and standards, joining up R&D efforts, coordinating public investments and mobilising private finance particularly for developing nations.

Tuesday 2 November

Máté Heisz, SolarPower Europe’s Director of Global Affairs is currently at COP26 in Glasgow. Máté spoke at the event ‘Solar to Power Africa – Building Partnerships that Deliver Results’ stating “The solar potential in Africa is immense thanks to ideal weather conditions and strong demand. Yet the continent’s installed capacity today represents less than 1% of the world’s solar capacity, and less than 3% of Africa’s power generation capacity. SolarPower Europe will continue working closely with its members and partners, including the European Commission and the International Solar Alliance, as well as local associations, to support the scale-up of solar energy on the continent. This can be done by enhancing local regulatory frameworks and streamlining international support schemes, and by strengthening capacities of local businesses and associations”.

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