In November 2016, the European Commission presented the Clean Energy Package, a set of legislative proposals, with the goal of providing a framework for the EU energy sector to accelerate the clean energy transition in Europe.  The Clean Energy Package is intended to maximise EU leadership in the energy transition, by placing the consumers at the heart of the EU’s energy strategy.

The Clean Energy Package is a key piece of legislation for the solar sector, with huge ramifications for our technology’s growth in the coming few years.

1. Renewable Energy Directive

The Renewable Energy Directive is an essential piece of the Clean Energy Package, to deliver the EU’s ambition of being the leader in renewable energy globally.

The Renewable Energy Directive addresses key issues for solar businesses in Europe, such as setting the level of ambition of the European Union in developing renewables up to 2030; the regulatory framework related to support and tendering schemes for solar installations, the treatment of solar prosumers and communities; and the removal of administrative barriers to unlock the development of all solar projects across Europe. The final adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive by the Parliament and Council is planned for November 2018.

What we have achieved and what it will do for solar by 2030:

  • An ambitious target for renewables in Europe: at least 32% of Europe’s gross final energy consumption in 2030 should be covered by RES, including an upward revision clause by 2023.
  • New era for renewable self-consumers by allowing new business models to thrive such as collective self-consumption, aggregation or third party ownership.
  • Exemption from charges/fees for self-consumed electricity up to 30kW with cost-reflective charges and market value remuneration for electricity fed into the grid.
  • Simpler administrative procedures to enable the growth of small-scale RES plants with the introduction of a one stop shop.
  • Shorter permitting deadlines up to one-year for installations below 150kW and simple notification for small solar projects equal or less than 10.8kW (Member States to allow it up to 50 kW).
  • Obligation for Member States to report progress on Corporate Sourcing and to remove administrative barriers.
  • Mandatory issuance of GOs, strengthening the role of Guarantees of Origin (GOs) in tracking renewable electricity.
  • Technology specific tenders and FiT for small scale, with the possibility of exempting small scale installations and demonstration projects from tendering procedures.
  • No retroactive changes for support schemes except under very limited provisions, provided that the economic viability of the projects isn’t undermined.
  • Ambitious National energy and climate plans that include long-term planning for support of Solar.

2. Electricity Market Design

The Electricity Market Design Regulation and Directive is the “hardware” of the European energy transition. It is the cornerstone of developing forward-looking European electricity markets, adapting to the increasing contribution of renewables, and integrating new sources of flexibility (renewables, storage, demand-response) closer to real-time. It also ensures that all renewable capacities will be able to compete on a level playing-field with conventional energy sources, recognising the specificity and benefits of small-scale, clean, and locally owned installations.

The Electricity Market Design legislation has been adopted by the European Parliament on 26th March 2019. It should now be adopted by the Council of Ministers before the summer. 

What we have achieved and what it will do for solar by 2030:

  • A market design fit for small renewables: Priority dispatch is maintained for small renewable installations up to 400kW (200kW from 2026). Member States can phase out priority dispatch for new small-scale installations upon strict market-readiness criteria. This is a major achievement of the Small is Beautiful campaign.
  • Fairer rules on redispatch: Solar generation shall be curtailed as a last resort and fully compensated in case of non-market-based redispatch.
  • Electricity and balancing market rules shall be non-discriminatory, transparent and ensure access for all market participants, including solar producers, aggregators and storage players.
  • Active solar customers are exempt from double charges – including network charges – when providing flexibility services with their storage facility.
  • A competitive framework for the uptake of Solar & Storage services in Europe: ownership by system operators is limited to strictly justified market failures or integrated network components.
  • Strong regulatory provisions to prevent distortions from capacity remuneration mechanisms, which shall be temporary and implemented following a thorough assessment by the European Commission.
  • The progressive phase-out of public subsidies for polluting power plants, which are not eligible to receive any payment through capacity remuneration mechanisms. Capacities emitting more than 550grCO2/kWh will not be allowed to participate in the mechanism from 2020.

3. Governance

The 2030 European Climate and Energy Framework introduced European binding targets for 2030, a new feature that will replace the national renewable binding targets developed under the previous 2020 Energy and Climate Framework.

The Governance regulation plays a central role in the energy union. It ensures that Member States stay on track to meet their long-term objectives, including their renewable and energy efficiency targets, making it possible that the EU’s 2030 energy and climate targets and long-term greenhouse gas emissions goals are achieved. The final adoption of the Governance Regulation by the Parliament and Council is planned for November 2018.

What we have achieved and what it will do for solar by 2030:

  • Steady growth guaranteed for the solar sector as Member States are bound by linear trajectories to deliver the 32% RES target by 2030.
  • More certainty and security for solar investors as Member States shall develop and present detailed 10-year strategic plans (with 5-year updates) for the energy sector.
  • Strong and ambitious National Energy and Climate Plans to support the development of solar energy. Draft NECPs by 31 December 2018 and final plans by 31 December 2019.
  • European Commission to put forward a strategy for National decarbonisation plans for 2050 focusing on a “renewables-based energy system” in order to meet the Paris Agreement goals.
  • European Commission to intervene if any gap arises towards the delivery of the EU targets, issuing recommendations to all Member States and taking measures at EU level to mitigate risk of not achieving the Energy Union objectives.
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Photo: ©European Union, 2017 / Photo: Lukasz Kobus

4. Energy Performance in Buildings

The revision of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive represents a huge opportunity to transform the future building stock into a cleaner and more active component of the energy system. This is even more relevant considering that, today, buildings are one of the biggest CO2 emitting sectors in Europe.

On-site solar installations and building integrated solar are an opportunity for increasing energy performance in buildings. Solar enhances consumer empowerment while fostering a cost-efficient transition towards a more decentralised, digitalised, and cleaner building stock. The Energy Performance of Building Directive is key to improve the smartness of our future buildings stock and their ability to interact with other sectors generating added value for European society at large (smarter and cleaner transport, demand-response, collective self-consumption).

The new Energy Performance in Buildings Directive has been formally published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 19 June 2018.

What we have achieved and what it will do for solar by 2030:

  • An ambitious EU strategy for the renovation and full decarbonation of the EU’s building stock by 2050.
  • Member States will elaborate a detailed strategy for the renovation of their building stock (residential, non-residential, private, public) by 2050, integrating the contribution of solar for the decarbonation of the building stock.
  • A forward-looking strategy for the uptake of smart buildings in Europe, acknowledging the positive contribution of on-site solar and BIPV.
  • The European Commission will develop a “Smart Readiness Indicator” by the end of 2019 for buildings which will support the EU’s monitoring for the uptake of smart buildings in Europe.
  • On-site generation is integrated in the key functionalities of the Smart Readiness Indicator.
  • The use of this indicator will first be optional for Member States.
  • Forward looking energy efficiency provisions facilitating the buildings’ integration into a wider energy ‘eco-system’ (i.e. on-site renewable generation, smart metering, demand-side flexibility and electro-mobility, storage).
  • The methodology for the calculation of the energy performance of buildings will integrate the contribution of innovative technologies such as BIPV.
  • The positive influence of active solar systems will be factored into the overall energy performance of buildings calculation carried out by Member States.

5. Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency policy is a key lever for the renovation and modernisation of the European building stock, which is responsible for 36% of CO2 emissions in Europe. The reduction of energy demand in key sectors of the economy is a priority and should be implemented consistently with the need to decarbonise the European building sector.

The implementation of energy efficiency actions in buildings is therefore a major opportunity for a cost-optimal deployment of on-site renewable generation in buildings.

The main challenge to achieve this is to build consistent energy-efficiency policies, breaking the silos between the reduction of energy demand – through performance improvements of the EU’s building stock – and the development of on-site solar and Building Integrated PV generation. The final adoption of the Energy Efficiency Directive by the Parliament and Council is planned for November 2018.

What we have achieved and what it will do for solar by 2030:

  • Lower energy efficiency annual savings and RES accountability to promote RES investments.
  • A 0.8% real annual savings goal, down from the initial proposal of 1.5%.
  • Member States to exclude from the calculation of the energy savings requirement up to 30% of the verifiable amount of energy generated on or in buildings for own use as a result of policy measures promoting new installation of renewables.
  • Small-scale renewable energy technologies on or in buildings may be eligible for the fulfilment of energy savings requirements.
  • Strong incentive for electricity driven technologies and the electrification of key sectors of the economy with the establishment of a 2.1 PEF for electricity.

"Households can wake up in the morning with the knowledge that they will have a new right - the right to self-generate, consume and store the energy they produce. This is a major achievement."

James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe



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