As solar in Europe has entered a new era of growth – with demand expected to increase by around 80% in 2019, and over 24 GW of installations forecasted for 2020 – the question of how to harness this power becomes more important than ever.
Storage is an innovative and future-oriented technology that offers access to solar 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, no matter if the sun is shining or not. New digital technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and robotics are creating the environment for producers and consumers – or indeed, ‘prosumers’ – to get more from solar, whether through remote monitoring software, smart utilities, or virtual power plants. Both storage and digitalisation unlock a whole new world of opportunities for solar, allowing PV technologies to be used to their full potential.
On 5-6 November, over 300 smart energy players descended on Brussels for the only European event on ‘Digital Solar & Storage’. The event gathered high-level executives, digital innovators, storage solution suppliers, and representatives from the European Parliament and Commission to discuss the latest business models and market trends shaping the New Energy World. Topics included digitalisation, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, storage solutions, and solar mobility.
Ditte Juul Jørgensen, Director-General for Energy, DG Energy, European Commission in the keynote speech at the Digital Solar & Storage event, said: “Solar and storage are central to Europe’s new energy mix, impacting everything from solar mobility to smart homes. Solar combined with digitalisation and storage options will be some of the most important technologies in the years to come to improve the security and flexibility of energy systems and to meet energy targets. I look forward to continuing this work with solar organisations in the years to come.”
Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, stated: “The European solar market is growing tremendously this year and is expected to add around 20GW, that’s more than any other power generation technology. Recent technological developments and a steep decrease in costs have opened up large business opportunities for solar and storage. To fully exploit solar for Europe’s citizens and industry, it is key to plan now in order to reap the benefits that energy storage and digitalisation can offer. An important step is that EU member states implement ambitious national climate and energy plans as part of the Clean Energy Package legislation, that will fast-track the uptake of digital solar and storage to the benefit of consumers and business.”
Michael Schmela, Executive Advisor and Head of Market Intelligence of SolarPower Europe, commented: “This Digital Solar & Storage event is a testament of solar’s enduring growth and potential. The increasing demand for solar in Europe reflects its low cost and versatile nature. The climate threat is only getting higher on the agenda of the people and governments in Europe, and the main pillar to counter that threat is flexible and clean solar power. European utilities and their subsidiaries have become global leaders in developing solar power plants around the world, and this event covered all the topics needed to master the transformation to a digital and distributed clean energy world.”
This year for the first-time ever, Digital Solar & Storage hosted an e-mobility exhibition, featuring on-site test drives of the most advanced electric vehicles on the market from Tesla, BMW, and Mini, as well as e-mobility solutions from Cowboy, Felyx, and Swapfiets. Further, the world championship solar car from the Agoria Belgian Solar Team was present, and the team, who won the recent World Solar Challenge in Australia, participated in a panel on solar mobility.
The event was held at the newly-renovated Brussels Environment HQ, which integrates PV modules into the façade and is equipped with smart monitoring technology.
About Digital Solar & Storage:
The first event of its kind, Digital Solar & Storage unites key stakeholders in solar, energy storage and digitalisation from Europe to establish a cross-sectoral platform in areas that will shape the power, heat and transport sectors. Co-organised by SolarPower Europe, the International Battery Energy & Storage Alliance and EuPD Research this event will cover the full spectrum of challenges and opportunities impacting the smart energy industries from a policy, market and technological perspective. High-level players in these sectors will discuss market trends, identify new business models and highlight how digitalisation and storage can benefit consumers to put forward a long-term vision for the future of the industry. For the first time, SolarPower Europe presents its 1st e-mobility exhibition, featuring the latest e-mobility technologies and products, based on renewable, clean mobility. This year’s event also unveiled the first workshop on energy storage for corporate buyers, showcasing the potential and business value of onsite energy storage for corporates. The event is powered by Intersolar Europe and EES Europe.