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EDITORIAL: All Change in Brussels, A new political class for a new European renewables framework

Date : September 2014

By James Watson, Chief Executive Officer

As EPIA’s new CEO, I’d like to welcome you all to this edition of the Solaris Newsletter, which focuses on the big changes that have been happening in Brussels and EPIA’s activities in the forthcoming EU PVSEC and EU Utility Week conferences.
As many of you will know the European political landscape has changed considerably in the last month. We have a whole new set of MEPs, with more than 50% coming to Brussels for the first time, to work with on key dossiers such as the renewable energy target for 2030. EPIA has not wasted any time and has already engaged with the new MEPs to build relationships and raise awareness of the great work of the European solar sector and the opportunities that developing it further can bring. Working with these new MEPs will be crucial to securing a meaningful framework for solar in Europe.
    
Coupled to the change of personnel in the European Parliament, there is also going to be a new set of European Commissioners in town from the beginning of November. So far it is apparent that a Spanish Commissioner will lead the newly merged Climate and Energy portfolio, which will in turn form part of a super department – for the Energy Union - under a Slovenian. These two will be responsible for the Commission’s proposal on a renewable energy target for 2030 and EPIA is already preparing to meet them when they take office.

The 2030 dossier is not the only relevant issue on the table that these new policymakers will be addressing. Also of interest for the solar industry are the forthcoming discussions on electricity market design, eco-design measures for inverters, the electricity retail market initiative and the carbon market reform.

As the debates unfold you can be sure to count on regular action and updates from your EPIA policy team. I would also like to urge you to contact the policy team with any questions you have on these initiatives.

The EPIA team will also be highly active and visible in the forthcoming EU PVSEC and EU Utility Week conferences. You will be able to find the team next week at the EPIA stand in EU PVSEC and we are also hosting and supporting numerous events throughout the week. Likewise, we will be highly active in the EU Utility Week, hosting workshops and launching the results of our PV GRID project. We are all looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible during the conferences.

As for me, I am looking forward to working with you all over the coming months and years, to drive the solar industry forward and make EPIA the leading industry serving organisation!


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HIGHLIGHT: Join EPIA activities at the 29th EU PVSEC

Date : September 2014

By Kinga Timaru-Kast, Head of Membership & Business Development

EPIA will be present at the 29th EU PVSEC through various events that will give the opportunity to discuss the evolution of the solar PV sector and the future of the industry at European and global levels.
  • On Monday 22 September, 13:30-18:30 (Auditorium Centre, Room G107), the IEA PVPS Task 1 Workshop on “Self-consumption business models - technical and economic challenges”, supported by EPIA, will explore the challenges associated with producing electricity with solar for local needs from a technical and economic point of view. Featured EPIA speaker at the workshop is Manoël Rekinger, Senior Technology Advisor
       
  • On Tuesday 23 September, 09:00-12:00 (Auditorium Centre, First Floor, Room G106), EPIA is organising the SOPHIA Project Final event. This high-level event will be the occasion to present and discuss the findings of the Strategic Research Infrastructure Agenda (SRIA) that includes inputs from all the different topic leaders and expert groups within the SOPHIA consortium. Dr. James Watson, EPIA CEO, will moderate the 1st session of the event
        
  • EPIA also supports DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions in hosting the interactive event “Driving the Next Growth Phase in Photovoltaics”, on Wednesday 24 September, 14:00-16:00 and 16:00-18:00 (RAI Elicium Conference Centre - access through entrance D - Conference Room D407). This event will provide new insights on how the industry can enable continued growth in solar power with special emphasis on the rooftop market. Dr. James Watson, EPIA CEO, will provide an update on market, trends and considerations for the growing EU solar rooftop sector
       
  • Within the frame of the PV GRID projectManoël Rekinger, EPIA Senior Technology Advisor, will give a presentation on Thursday 25 September, 13:30-15:00 (Room G104/105) on “Overcoming Normative and Regulatory Barriers Hampering PV Hosting Capacity Enhancement in European Distribution Grids”
Finally, you can meet the EPIA team of experts at the EPIA area (Hall 1, Booth F13) from 23 to 25 September 2014. Please feel free to contact our experts directly in order to schedule a meeting.

The world’s leading science-to-science, business-to-business and science-to-industry platform for the global PV solar sector, the 29th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC 2014) will take place from 22 to 26 September at the RAI Convention & Exhibition Centre, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. 

EPIA Members benefit from a 20% discount on the conference fee and 10% discount on exhibition rates for this event. Please log in to the Members Area of the website and click here to access the details to benefit from the discount. 

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Join EPIA activities at the European Utility Week, the annual landmark event of the energy sector

Date : September 2014

By Manoël Rekinger, Senior Technology Advisor

This year’s edition of the European Utility Week will take place on 4-6 November 2014 in Amsterdam. During three days of global energy industry-related discussions, the event will bring together 10.000+ international smart energy stakeholders and 300+ speakers. It will comprise 10 different content tracks on topics ranging from Renewable Integration to Smart Metering to Smart Cities.
Do not miss EPIA events organised within the frame of the European Utility Week 2014:

  • On Wednesday 05 November, 14:00-15:20, EPIA session on “Transforming the power business - Opportunities in a renewable-driven and decentralised power system”, as part of the Strategic Programme
    The electricity landscape is evolving. More variable and decentralised power is connected every day. It challenges the power system, creating opportunities for conventional actors, but also for new players. EPIA invited different experts to present their views on possible roles and responsibilities in a decentralised power system. An engaging roundtable discussion involving the audience on the implications of the decentralisation process on the power sector will conclude the session. Oliver Schäfer, EPIA President, will moderate the session
        
  • On Thursday 06 November, 9:00-9:20, EPIA will present the results of the PV GRID project, with a focus on analysing grid connection barriers and solutions for PV across Europe, as part of the Case Study Programme 
    Manoël Rekinger, EPIA Senior Technology Advisor, will present the PV GRID project results.

Finally, make sure you don’t miss the two presentations of EPIA’s strategic partner, SunSpec, on the development of smart inverters in the US.
  
EPIA Members benefit from a 20% discount on Conference Pass and a Free Exhibition Pass. Please log in to the Members Area of the website and click here to access the details to benefit from the discount. To learn more about the discounts offered to EPIA Members, please click here.

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PRESS RELEASE: Storm warning for the Italian photovoltaic sector

Date : September 2014

By Benjamin Fontaine, Senior Communications Advisor

The Italian Senate adopted on 07 August 2014 a Decree-Law that introduces significant retroactive cuts of the guaranteed Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) and new taxes for self-consumed electricity. These new rules will seriously damage the investment climate for solar PV in the country and the image of Europe as a stable investment centre.

Read the Press Release here.

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PRESS RELEASE: European Council calls for 30% Renewables target by 2030

Date : September 2014

By Benjamin Fontaine, Senior Communications Advisor

EPIA supports the position of the European Heads of State on the target for renewables and calls for them to confirm this commitment during their meeting on 23-24 October. This is a step in the right direction and provides the opportunity for Europe to maintain a lead in the renewable energy sector. Nevertheless to be truly effective, national targets are still needed to deliver the energy transition that Europe requires to meet its CO2 reduction commitments.

Read the Press Release here.

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SOPHIA: EPIA to organise the Final event

Date : September 2014

By Ioannis-Thomas Theologitis, Technology Advisor

As a SOPHIA project partner, EPIA is organising the project final event within the frame of the upcoming 29th EU PVSEC (European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition). Taking place on Tuesday 23 September 2014 from 09:00 to 12:00 in Amsterdam, this high-level event will focus on important results of the SOPHIA project such as the findings of the the Strategic Research Infrastructure Agenda (SRIA). Featured speakers include high level representatives from the European Commission, the PV research community and the PV industry. 
   
For more information about the event please click here.

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The website of the CHEETAH project is now available

Date : July 2014

By Ioannis-Thomas Theologitis, Technology Advisor

CHEETAH - Cost-reduction through material optimisation and Higher EnErgy outpuT of solAr pHotovoltaic modules - joining Europe’s Research and Development efforts in support of its PV industry - is a combined collaborative project (CP) and coordination and support action (CSA) funded under the European Commission’s 7th Framework programme. CHEETAH’s aims to solve specific R&D issues in the EERA-PV Joint Program and to overcome fragmentation of European PV R&D in Europe and intensify the collaboration between R&D providers and industry to accelerate the industrialization of innovations.
EPIA is a leading partner of the project ensuring the acceleration of innovations’ implementation and dissemination of the project results. EPIA will also contribute by conducting an analysis on cost reduction potential and PV performance and quality status.

For more information, please contact Ioannis-Thomas Theologitis.


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Last call for free access to Europe's leading PV research facilities

Date : July 2014

By Ioannis-Thomas Theologitis, Technology Advisor

Funding from the European Commission is making it possible to put 48 pieces of high-performance photovoltaic research infrastructure at the disposal of visiting researchers free of charge. “We are very pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to the PV community,” said Philippe Malbranche co-ordinator of the project through which funding will be provided (“SOPHIA RI”). This is the last SOPHIA RI call for Transnational Access (TNA) projects. “The EC is going to cover the costs of a team from one country using facilities based in one or more other countries providing that results are shared with the owner of the facility/ies and, if interesting, published”, continued Mr. Malbranche.

Benefiting from this opportunity, the University of Antwerp was selected in 2012 to perform the project on “Use of EPR at 263 GHz to unravel the formation of polaron states in thiazolo[5,4-d]thiazole (TzTz) – based small molecules” (Polmol) at SOPHIA partner Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin’s facilities. The study carried by the partnership investigated the use of the unique spectral resolution of EPR at 263 GHz to obtain detailed information about the electronic structure of the polaron states and the orientation of the TzTz-like molecules in blends. These molecules are potential electron acceptor materials in organic solar cells and detailed knowledge of the electronic structure was necessary to improve these devices. Polmol provided valuable results that helped to understand polaron states in these compounds by 263 GHz EPR in the dark and under illumination with a continuous wave argon laser.

Team members can come from different European countries. In this case, the team leader and a majority of the team members should not be from the country where the research facility they wish to use is located. Costs related to transport, accommodation and help in using the equipment will also be covered by the EC through the project.

Philippe Malbranche continued: “A typical project might be a team of one SME and one local research organisation using a specific cell processing facility and the associated characterisation equipment over a period of 10 days. Other examples might be to conduct a long-term comparison of the performance of PV modules, BIPV or CPV systems or to use a supercomputing facility for advanced modelling. We are open to all kinds of relevant proposals.”

Apply now!

  • Potential applicants must apply online via the SOPHIA website by 30 September 2014, presenting their idea in 5 to 6 pages.
  • A ‘User Selection Committee’ made up of members of the SOPHIA consortium will review proposals and announce the winners six to eight weeks later, specifying or confirming dates on when the facilities will be available.
  • Several further calls are planned, each to be announced on the website.


Further details including descriptions of the facilities available and their contact persons, are available on the SOPHIA website, www.sophia-ri.eu.

Contact:

General enquiries: contact@sophia-ri.eu

Greg Arrowsmith (concerning access by teams from public research centres)
arrowsmith@eurec.be
+32 2 546 1932

Ioannis-Thomas Theologitis (concerning access by teams from industry)
i.theologitis@epia.org
+32 2 709 5540


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UK: European Commission approves 'Contract for Difference' scheme

Date : July 2014

By Alexandre Roesch, Head of Regulatory Affairs

The European Commission (EC) has concluded that the proposed UK Capacity Market is in line with EU state aid rules.
The Capacity Market is part of the comprehensive UK Electricity Market Reform that includes support measures such as the Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme. The EC decision confirms the replacement of the Renewable Obligation (RO) scheme for systems above 5 MW by the Contracts for Difference (CfD) mechanism as of 01 April 2015.

More information on the EC decision is available here.

More information on the changes to financial support to PV in the UK is available here (please log in first to the Members Area of the website).

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Germany: European Commission approves new EEG 2014

Date : July 2014

By Alexandre Roesch, Head of Regulatory Affairs

The European Commission (EC) has found the new German Renewable Energy Act (EEG 2014) to be in line with EU state aid rules.
In April 2014 Germany notified a draft law for supporting renewable energies. The EC assessed its compatibility under the provisions of its new Energy and Environmental Aid Guidelines, adopted in April 2014. The EEG 2014 will enter into force on 1 August 2014. 

More information on the EC decision is available here.

EPIA analysis of the EEG 2014 is available here (please log in first to the Members Area of the website).

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Benjamin Fontaine
EPIA
Contact
Benjamin Fontaine
Senior Communications Advisor
@ : b.fontaine@epia.org
T. : +32 (0)2 709 55 23

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