“When people think solar we want them to think Europe”: Launch of European Solar Initiative

On February 23rd, SolarPower Europe and EIT InnoEnergy launched the European Solar Initiative (ESI), with the support of EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, and French Minister Delegate for Industry Agnès Pannier-Runacher. The ESI aims to accelerate Europe’s climate agenda and economic recovery, contributing to the delivery of the European Green Deal’s objectives. 

It is an industry-led effort supported by the European Commission, aiming to scale up the solar PV industry value chain in Europe, and capture the booming European demand for solar. The demand is estimated at 20 GW per year for the next decade, creating an additional €40bn GDP annually and 400,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The impressive growth of the European solar PV market in 2020 demonstrated the resilience and strength of solar in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, opening important prospects for European solar PV producers, and positioning solar PV technologies as strategic to the EU economy. At the same time, European companies and research centres have proven their global innovative edge, developing world-leading high-efficiency cell and module technologies, as well as future-proof solar applications on buildings, water, and agricultural land. The ESI will therefore anchor itself in the Industrial Strategy presented by the European Commission, and will help scale up the solar PV industrial ecosystem in Europe towards the 2025 horizon.

Commissioner Breton said at the launch event: “Initiatives like the ESI are very welcome as they strengthen the resilience of our industrial ecosystems, avoid critical dependencies, and of course create quality jobs. In the EU we are already leading in research and innovation for renewables, including solar. Now we need to build on this technological leadership for leading the industrial role in the next generation of solar PV.”

Speaking at the launch, French Minister Delegate for Industry Agnès Pannier-Runacher added: “The European Solar Initiative can be a milestone in the Green Deal and a key component of Europe’s recovery. Now we need to pull up our bootstraps, get to work, and continue to build PV projects that can contribute to European success.” EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson emphasised the core goal of the ESI: “When people hear ‘solar’ we want them to think ‘Europe’. We have all elements in place to achieve this!”

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