SolarPower Europe newsletter

Editorial: Building for the future – let’s put solar on all new and renovated buildings in the EU!

By Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO @SolarWalburga

Photo: Solnet

Today, 75% of Europeans live in urban areas and this is expected to rise. Already we are facing an increasing amount of challenges in our cities related to poor air quality, energy poverty, and highly inefficient buildings. The building stock accounts for 49% of Europe’s energy demand and 36% of CO2 emissions at EU level – we need to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and invest significantly in improving the energy efficiency of our buildings if Europe is to become carbon-neutral.

Against this backdrop, SolarPower Europe has launched the Solar4Buildings campaign – we are calling for solar on all new and renovated buildings in the EU to help limit climate change.

In the EU, more than 90% of roofs go unused, when they could help mitigate climate change by having solar installed on them. Installing solar on all new buildings and those undergoing renovations makes perfect sense as it could reduce buildings’ CO2 emissions significantly whilst producing clean electricity.

What’s more, Europe’s rooftops have huge solar potential. According to the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, rooftops in the EU can produce 680 TWh of solar power annually – which is equal to one quarter of the current electricity consumption in the EU. So, let’s harness this potential!

Solar is one of the most affordable energy sources today. The price of solar panels has dropped by more than 96% since 2000 and is expected to fall even further. By installing solar, European households can also save money on their electricity bills and have access to reliable and clean energy – that makes for a greener future. In Germany, a typical four-person family household with an average annual electricity consumption of 3,600 kWh could save more than €500 each year, if equipped with an average size rooftop system.

Despite these facts, buildings are still regularly being constructed without solar. Now it is time to install solar on all these roofs – on residential, commercial, industrial and public buildings.

We will present the Solar4Buildings campaign to the new European Commission starting in November and as part of our input to President-elect Ursula von der Leyen’s ‘Green Deal’.

Help support the campaign by signing the petition calling for EU legislation to have solar on all new and renovated buildings in the European Union!

Related articles:

How ‘solar skins’ can decarbonise Europe’s cities and create new jobs

New European Parliament and European Commission – and the changing political landscape

By Aurélie Beauvais, Policy Director @SolarPowerA

Photo: European Union 2019. Source: EP

2019 has been an exciting year for European policymaking in Brussels. In March 2019, SolarPower Europe celebrated the huge success of the adoption of the Clean Energy Package, concluding six years of intensive negotiations to shape a virtuous business environment for solar companies in Europe.

As one cycle ends, a brand new one starts. September 2019 marks the official beginning of Europe’s 9th legislature (2019-2024). This legislature will place the ‘Green Deal’ at the core of its future mandate, promoting the synergies between the clean energy transition and the need for a renewed EU industrial strategy. The key challenge: ensuring that the benefits of this ‘Climate and Industrial pact’ are grasped by all regions of Europe, to tackle Euroscepticism.

Green and Liberal parties sweeping European Parliament

The result of the European Parliament Elections in May 2019 made waves in the political sphere, seeing influence shift from the mainstream European parties such as the European People’s Party (EPP Group) and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D Group). The big winners were thought to be the Liberal and Green parties, while there was also some growth in Eurosceptic parties, all of which results in a more fragmented parliament.

When it comes to ambitious energy and climate policies, an ‘alliance dynamic’ could become a huge opportunity as the Liberals (Renew Europe), Socialists (S&D) and Green parties have announced that they would prioritise the fight against climate change in their future mandate.

As a consequence of this new political reality, none of the Spitzenkandidaten made it through to the position of European Commission President. Instead the European Council’s candidate Ursula von der Leyen, the former German minister, was nominated and approved as the new President-elect of the EU Commission – the first woman to hold this prestigious position.

During her audition in front of the European Parliament, Ursula von der Leyen outlined the key priorities of her mandate, including a ‘Green Deal’ for Europe, with renewables and the energy transition at its core. Amongst other priorities, she promised to obtain a binding agreement on reaching a climate-neutral European economy by 2050, the upward review of Europe’s CO2 emission target by 2030, the development of carbon pricing policies for road and maritime transport, and the creation of a carbon border tax. She announced that the European Commission would issue a proposal for a new European industrial strategy, putting clean energy technologies at the core of Europe’s renewed industrial leadership.

The European Commission 2.0 – Gender balance, Green Deal and three Executive Vice-Presidents

On the 10th of September, Ursula von der Leyen presented her new College of European Commissioners. For the first time, the European Commission achieved almost perfect gender balance with 14 male Commissioners and 13 female – one of von der Leyen’s promises to the European Parliament during her auditions.

What’s new is the nomination of three ‘Executive Vice-Presidents’, which become the most important positions in the European Commission. Key personalities from the previous European Commission have been promoted to these prestigious posts: Frans Timmermans (S&D – former European Commissioner for the rule of law), Margrethe Vestager (Renew Europe – former Commissioner for Competition) and Valdis Dombrovskis (EPP – Former Vice-President for Euro and social dialogue).

Frans Timmermans is set to become the first Executive Vice-President in charge of the ‘Green Deal for Europe’, the flagship initiative proposed by President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. As such, he will oversee critical initiatives for the solar sector in Europe, delivering the European commitment to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and a global industrial leader in clean energy technologies.

Margrethe Vestager is set to be appointed the role of Executive Vice-President for ‘A Europe fit for the Digital Age’. She will co-lead the work on the European industrial strategy with Valdis Dombrovskis, and retains the Competition portfolio, a key driver for both industrial strategy and for the future State aid guidelines on energy and environment, which are expected in June 2020.

Finally, the new President-elect has emphasised that the incoming Commission would be placed under the sign of ‘equity’ from a gender perspective but also providing an equal say to all European countries within the European Commission. The nomination of Latvian Valdis Dombrovskis as one of the European Commission’s three Executive Vice-Presidents (‘An economy for the people’), as well as issuing Vice-President portfolios to Czech Republic (Values and transparency), Croatia (Democracy and demography), Slovakia (Inter-institutional relations and prospective) and Greece (European way of life) show a clear step in this direction.

The new College of Commissioners must be approved by the European Parliament and each nominee will be submitted to public hearings in several Committees hearings between the 30th of September and the 8th of October, before the official endorsement by the European Parliament planned for the 23rd of October.

SolarPower Europe is following the political developments closely.

Related articles:

Europe can take solar industry leadership

An industrial policy for solar in Europe

Don’t miss our events this autumn!

By Charlotte Otten, Events Manager @charlottejotten and Lorena Morales González, Events and Marketing Assistant @SolarPowerL

Photo: Digital Solar & Storage 2018 at BMW Welt Munich

SolarPower Europe has a number of events lined up for this autumn, from corporate sourcing to digital solar to O&M and asset management.  

RE-Source 2019

Taking place on 2-3 October in Amsterdam, RE-Source 2019 will build on the success of the last two years. This October expect more B2B matchmaking activities, deep-dive breakout sessions and an even larger and more diverse pool of buyers and suppliers.

Tickets sold out last year so register now to secure your spot at the world’s largest gathering of renewable energy buyers and suppliers.

Digital Solar & Storage 2019

The Digital Solar & Storage will take place on 5-6 November 2019 in a spectacular new venue – the Brussels Environment HQ – which integrates solar PV into the façade and has cutting edge energy management technology.

The event is timed to welcome the new European Parliament and Commission and discuss with key stakeholders from industry and politics what’s needed to keep up the new solar momentum in Europe. The conference is coming back this year with the 2nd Digital Solar & Storage Startup Awards, an e-mobility exhibition and multiple networking opportunities.

Join high-level executives from digital innovators and storage solution suppliers active in solar and representatives from Europe’s new European Parliament and Commission to discuss the latest business models and market trends shaping the New Energy World based on digital solar & storage. Register now

O&M and Asset Management 2019

Once again, SolarPower Europe and the Solar Trade Association are bringing together first line experts for the annual O&M and Asset Management conference in London.

This event will drive the discussion on enhancing excellence and transparency, as well as new digital solutions that the industry, the financial community, and all the relevant stakeholders can benefit from. Leading companies that represent a significant share of Europe’s solar PV portfolio are already committed to this process.

Join our community of experts on 5 December in London for the most informative and cost-effective conference of the sector.

Register now

Make sure to also sign up for our upcoming webinars! Find out more here.

SolarPower Europe at EU PVSEC: Solar is growing in Europe – now it’s time for industrial strategy

By Meghann Kissane, Communications Advisor @solarpowermeg

Photo: Walburga Hemetsberger speaking at the opening session of EU PVSEC © EU PVSEC

The 36th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC) took place in Marseille, France from the 9th to the 13th of September. The CEO of SolarPower Europe, Walburga Hemetsberger, spoke at the opening session of the conference. Her speech highlighted the new solar growth era in Europe, the key role solar can play in a European Green Deal and called for higher ambition in the development of an industrial strategy for the entire solar value chain.

“Solar has entered a new era of growth in Europe. With strong market prospects, now is the right moment to build on Europe’s highly innovative and state of the art solar technologies, that will create thousands of clean energy jobs in Europe and accelerate the energy transition, said Hemetsberger in her opening speech.

Since 2016, through its Industrial Competitiveness Task Force, SolarPower Europe has developed an industrial strategy for the Europe solar value chain. Learn more about our work on Industrial Strategy here.

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An industrial policy for solar in Europe

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"Building-integrated solar in Europe is at a turning point - with the opportunity to become the uncontested leader in BIPV worldwide"

By Miguel Herrero Cangas, Policy Advisor @SolarPowerMig

Photo: ©Akuo Energy

“BIPV in Europe is at a turning point – Europe has the opportunity to become the uncontested leader in BIPV worldwide.”

We spoke with Alexandra Sombsthay, VP Europe at Akuo Energy and Chair of SolarPower Europe’s BIPV Task Force about the future of the building-integrated solar industry in Europe, from regulation to the role of municipalities!

In addition to being a global leader in the BIPV sector, Akuo Energy is the new Chair of the SolarPower Europe BIPV Task Force. Where do you see the European BIPV industry in five years’ time?

BIPV in Europe is today at a turning point. The market is ready, and actually in need of new PV solutions for cities and the technology is mature. Europe has the opportunity to become the uncontested leader of BIPV worldwide as European players have today the best products on the market. In 5-year time, we can foresee that all new constructions will be power generators, so will be the renovated buildings.

European stakeholders are to push and unite with a view of anchoring this pioneering position. Industrial development of a competitive BIPV offer is the main stake to confirm EU predominant position. Access to financing is also a major challenge, that we will collectively need to tackle. With the dynamic currently engaged, we are really optimistic on the ability of BIPV to become mainstream within 5 years. This outcome is really essential for a successful energy transition in Europe. And this Task Force will be key to address every challenge on the way!

We are facing a new EU legislative cycle during which there will be many spaces to work towards a favourable regulatory framework for BIPV. What is the main regulatory challenge for the BIPV industry today?

We identify two main challenges to adopt a regulatory framework that will foster BIPV development:

(1) A movement of standardisation is necessary to widen the deployment of BIPV solutions across Europe. The products should be defined as construction material, with a check list of harmonised characteristics and performance indicators. The European Commission could support this trend by revising the Construction Product Regulation, especially to strengthen sustainability criteria of new buildings.

(2) Another important regulatory trend towards deployment of BIPV is the development of incentives for citizens, especially related to the tax system. This trigger is key to encourage private owners to make these long-term investments. The regulatory framework should make room for preferential tax schemes whenever BIPV solutions are deployed.

In our latest report, “Solar skins: an opportunity for greener cities” we identified municipal authorities as one of the main vectors for increased market uptake of BIPV technologies. How can municipalities support the adoption of BIPV?

Cities are the core of BIPV development. As renewable energy producer working hand in hand with local authorities for the past 12 years, we have learned that territories are the heart of innovation and the carriers of change!

The swiftness of municipalities is necessary to impulse the integration of BIPV within our cities. They can support BIPV development in several ways. Cities can use public procurement to green their town centers, by systematising the inclusion of high environmental standards for public building construction and renovation, with a power producing component.

Cities have also the power to make evolve usage our patrimonial heritage. Cities in Europe are among the eldest in the world, and we collectively inherited a magnificent architectural heritage. BIPV products should be integrated as architectural materials as they could participate in the renewal of this heritage with the right visual and technical integration.

Finally, municipalities can foster BIPV development on private real estate by adopting a local taxing system in favor of renewable energy production units on new and renovated constructions. This level is at least as important as the national or European one, as cities have the ability to develop a flexible tax scheme adapted to the needs of their territories.

Related articles:

How ‘solar skins’ can decarbonise Europe’s cities and create new jobs

Solar Skins: An opportunity for greener cities

Put solar on all new and renovated buildings in the EU to help fight climate change!

SolarPower Europe launches ‘Digitalisation & Solar in Mexico’ report with Mexican solar association ASOLMEX

By Máté Heisz, Senior Advisor and Project Manager for International Cooperation @mateheisz

Photo: Launch of the ‘Digitalisation & Solar in Mexico’ report at Intersolar Mexico

At Intersolar Mexico, SolarPower Europe and the Mexican Solar Association ASOLMEX launched a joint report on ‘Digitalisation & Solar in Mexico’ which is thought to be the first report of its kind to look at how new digital technology can be applied to solar in Mexico.

The report looks at how digitalisation enables more solar to be integrated into the grid, how new revenues can be gained for solar installations, and how it can create entirely new business models such as smart solar homes, peer-to-peer electricity trading, digitalised manufacturing and high-tech operation and maintenance (O&M).

In June 2018, SolarPower Europe and ASOLMEX signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore new business opportunities for solar companies in the European and Mexican solar markets. The cooperation is supported by the “Large Scale Solar Energy” Program of the German-Mexican bilateral technical cooperation implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Download the ‘Digitalisation & Solar in Mexico’ report (Spanish version)

Welcome our new SolarPower Europe team members: Mercè and Miguel!

By Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO @SolarWalburga

SolarPower Europe is pleased to welcome two new members to the Policy Team: Mercè and Miguel!

Mercè Labordena PhD  is the Senior Policy Advisor for Solar Digitalisation and Corporate Sourcing of Renewable Energy. Before joining SolarPower Europe, Mercè led projects at the Climate Policy Group at ETH Zurich on strategies to increase the rate of investment into solar power. Mercè holds a PhD in Climate Policy from ETH Zurich, and a Double Degree MSc in Renewable Energy, with a specialisation in Energy Innovation and Energy Engineering. Beyond her native Spanish and Catalan, she speaks English, French, Italian and German.

Miguel Herrero Cangas is the Policy Advisor for Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) and leads the BIPV and Solar Electrification Task Forces. Miguel also monitors developments in the Energy Performance in Buildings and the Nearly Zero Energy in Buildings Directives, leading SolarPower Europe’s advocacy on these files. Before joining SolarPower Europe he worked as a trainee in the cabinet of the Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete. He also has experience in the development of power projects in emerging markets. Miguel is fluent in English, French and Spanish.

New report ‘Decentralised Solar in Jordan’ from SolarPower Europe and Jordanian business association EDAMA

By Meghann Kissane, Communications Advisor @solarpowermeg

Photo: Photo: Her Excellency Hala Zwati Energy Minister (centre), EDAMA Chairman Dr. Duried Mahasneh, with SolarPower Europe representatives Máté Heisz and Naomi Chevillard, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung representatives Franziska Wehinger and Hamzeh Bany Yasin and EDAMA representatives Bushra Hattab, Reem Almasri and Abdallah Alshamali.

SolarPower Europe and Jordanian business association EDAMA launched a new report on ‘Decentralised Solar in Jordan’ during a workshop in Amman, Jordan in July. The report explores the barriers to small-scale solar and provides recommendations to help unleash decentralised solar. The workshop ‘Decentralised Solar in Jordan’ was supported by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in the framework of the German-Jordanian Development Cooperation.

During the workshop, SolarPower Europe and EDAMA also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further exchange ideas and experience related to decentralised solar. Jordan is considered one of the top emerging markets for clean energy investment. Utility-scale solar in particular has been successfully deployed over the past years, however, there is also huge potential for small-scale solar systems to be installed on households, businesses, and public buildings. SolarPower Europe looks forward to cooperating with EDAMA to create more business opportunities for solar in Europe and Jordan.

Download the ‘Decentralised Solar in Jordan’ report

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Photo of the month

By Kristina Thoring, Communications Director @SolarPowerKris

Photo courtesy of SMA Solar Technology and VSB énergies nouvelles

Situated on a former waste area, the Gaujac solar plant in France went into operation this year. The plant will produce 4,800 MWh of clean energy annually, equal to reducing CO2 emissions by 2,544 tonnes. Photo: SMA Solar and VSB.


‘Off the shelf’ contracts to improve uptake of corporate PPAs

Richard Russell, Group Commercial Director for RES, advises that new rules to simplify the process of agreeing a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (CPPA) with a renewable energy developer will prove decisive for smaller businesses looking to purchase green energy.

Securing renewable CPPAs has traditionally followed a bespoke process, taking between six and nine months to complete, often supported by various external advisors and brokers. However, new standards launched by The European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET) in June 2019 aim to simplify the procurement process.

By standardising the framework for CPPAs, these developments ‘open the door’ for more companies to join the likes of Microsoft, Royal Caribbean and Amazon in securing green energy directly from source, and in the process locking in more affordable and predictable energy pricing. The new EFET standards are expected to increase the demand for such corporate offtake, facilitating efficient and cost-effective access to the renewable energy market for small and medium enterprises, as well as local authorities. RES has already agreed more than 1.6 GW of CPPAs globally and in addition to the economic benefits, early adopters are also benefiting from “additionality” benefits – helping to ensure new installed renewables capacity is competitive and investable.

Furthermore, such standardisation and simplification will likely lead to the creation of more flexible CPPAs, allowing corporates to dynamically scale up or scale down their green energy buying requirements to match the trends in their own businesses. This will include the formation of a new consortia of energy buyers; pooling their collective demand for green energy to create further efficiencies. Looking ahead, such innovation and flexibility is vital, if we are to meet ambitious net zero goals.

VI Solar Forum to focus on the role of PV as key element of the new energy model

22-23 October, Madrid

The 6th edition of the Solar Forum, the key event of the Spanish solar industry organised by Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), will be held later this year, on October 22nd and 23rd in Madrid. This year’s theme will be “PV as the main element of the energy model”. Registration is open.

Last year, the event gathered 600+ attendees, becoming the must-attend conference for the Spanish PV industry, where professionals gather to share best practice and explore business opportunities.

This year the event will see the participation of renowned national and international industry experts, who will discuss key topics such as the current international framework of PV development, the strategies that PV companies should adopt to be competitive in the reactivated Spanish market, the new framework of opportunities opened by the Spanish National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), the growing popularity of PPAs and the most interesting niches for self-consumption.

The program will also include a session on R&D, organized in collaboration with FOTOPLAT, the Spanish Photovoltaic Technology Platform, in which the latest developments and prospects of development of PV technology will be presented.

We look forward to welcoming you at the VI Solar Forum.

For more information, please visit or contact 

The Smarter E India – 3 exhibitions in one place

27th to the 29th of November, Bangalore

The smarter E India – India’s innovation hub for the new energy world.

Be Part of India’s Bright Solar Future

As an important meeting ground for professionals along the entire value chain in the vital growth industries solar energy storage and electric mobility The smarter E India exhibition and conference is the perfect place to drum up business. Give your brand exposure at The Smarter E India and showcase your innovative products to 10 000 energy professionals Explore Karnataka as the most profitable and promising market in India! You concentrate on your business, while we facilitate the rest!

Special European Pavilion Offer

A specially designed Pavilion booth and marketing package allows your company an easy and cost-effective participation. Be in the center of solar, energy storage and e-mobility innovations and build your network in India without organisational effort. Expect many special marketing activities for the Pavilion by the organizer to draw attention to your booth.

Learn more

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