Solar Week 2024: #MissionSolar has landed

8 March 2024

What do we need to take solar into new frontiers? How do we secure Europe's competitiveness with a robust EU solar industry? How do we ensure swift permitting procedures and a solar workforce to speed up solar deployment? How do we maintain public acceptance for the energy transition? 


These queries, along with many others, took centre stage  during SolarPower Europe’s flagship event: the SolarPower Summit. With a gathering of over 440 participants, 27 engaging panels, and an impressive lineup of 115 distinguished speakers, SolarPower Summit 2024 undeniably stood out as the largest edition to date.

Kicking off the event, the inaugural session featured keynote addresses from notable figures, such as Maroš Šefčovič, the Executive Vice President of the European Commission; Aristotelis Chantavas, President of SolarPower Europe; Maria Carvalho, Member of the European Parliament and  Ann Mettler, Vice President of  Breakthrough Energy. While acknowledging the remarkable solar installations of 2023, their collective emphasis underscored the urgency of not only ramping up deployment but overcoming pressing barriers facing the European solar sector.


Artistotelis highlighted how; 


“In 2024, the double-digit growth of the EU solar market is not guaranteed. Now is the time to double down on our mission and chart our course into a new era for solar.”

Subsequent sessions delved into crucial topics such as the 2040 targets, solar workforce development, GW markets in Eastern Europe, and more specific subjects like rooftop solar, agrisolar, and inverters.


The first day concluded with the announcement of the Solar Startup Award 2024 winner; SOLAR MATERIALS took first prize for their groundbreaking solar recycling solution. Accepting the award, Fridolin Franke, CEO & Co-Founder of SOLAR MATERIALS, remarked;

“Winning the Solar Startup Award 2024 shows that the solar industry really cares about recycling, and sustainability is not just a buzz word. The award is the perfect stage to introduce our recycling solution to the European solar industry, and connect with decision makers from science, industry, and politics.”

Fridolin Franke


On the second day of the SolarPower Summit, we presented the European Solar Champion Award to EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson. Commissioner Simson's tenure has overseen a boom in European solar, with the EU solar fleet more than doubling from 119 GW to over 260 GW since her arrival in December 2019.


Commissioner Simson's pivotal role in championing the EU Solar Strategy and supporting relevant legislation has been integral to SolarPower Europe’s mission. In acknowledging her contribution, our CEO Walburga Hemetsberger stated; 

"Recent years have been marked by solar milestones and Commissioner Simson has been alongside our journey. It's a pleasure to recognise her contribution to European solar growth."

Commissioner Simson expressed her gratitude, stating;

"Solar PV has risen as the bright star of our energy transition. As it can be deployed fast, it played a key role in managing the energy crisis... These efforts paid off as today solar is the fastest growing source of electricity. I am proud that with today’s award the immense efforts put into this work have been recognised.”

Other panel discussions focused on diverse subjects such as public acceptance and strategies to involve citizens and local authorities in realising the full benefits of renewables. Debates on grid flexibility, ESGs, COP29, and renewable hydrogen also resonated throughout the Summit.

In one of the many insightful discussions, our Floating PV position paper was launched, outlining SolarPower Europe’s four key recommendations for policymakers to advance Floating PV across the EU.

The event reached its zenith with a powerful closing speech by Tinne Van der Straeten, Belgian Minister for Energy, expressing gratitude for SolarPower Europe’s’ participation at the EU Council meeting on Monday


She remarked;



"Yesterday with Walburga at the EU Council, all 27 Energy Ministers agreed that we must count on solar to reach our renewable energy targets. Together, we will accomplish Mission Solar."

Alongside the SolarPower Summit, we held our annual EU Solar CEO Forum, where Europe’s leading solar CEOs engaged with EU policymakers, including EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson and Maros Sefcovic, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal.


Our discussions focused on supporting solar PV investment, boosting grids and flexibility, building sustainable and diversified solar supply chains as well as on growing the skilled solar workforce.


On the very last day of Solar Week, SolarPower Europe attended the Brussels Women Energy Club, where Belgian Minister of Energy, Tinne Van der Straeten remarked how; "the energy transition is about citizens and leaving no one behind". The Minister was joined by Ambassador of Norway to the EU Anders H. Eide, Catharina Sikow, Director of Green Transition and Energy System Integration at the European Commission; and Manuela Teixeira Pinto Deputy Permanent Representative of Portugal. Speakers celebrated, but also reflected on how we can continue to improve gender equity across the energy sector.


Our heartfelt appreciation extends to all speakers, participants, and partners gathering this week as we explored the new frontiers in solar.


View all event photos

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