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10th MARKET WORKSHOP: PV development drivers in the EU and worldwide

Date : March 2015

Join us at our 10th Market Workshop: PV DEVELOPMENT DRIVERS IN THE EU AND WORLDWIDE on the 25-26th of March 2015 in Brussels, Belgium.
The EPIA 10th Market Workshop is one of our flagship events and a unique opportunity to discuss market trends with renowned sector analysts and experts. 

The presentations and interactive discussions will tackle the following topics:

  • European growth opportunities
  • Analyzing emerging markets
  • Utility-scale solar power
  • Self-consumption
  • Global trends and opportunities

The workshop will be preceded by a networking drink and interactive dinner on the 25th of March, also in The Hotel.

More information here!


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Joint Letter on smart and forward-looking Energy Union

Date : March 2015

EPIA, together with seven other energy associations, has sent a Joint Letter to the Permanent Representatives calling on their delegation to commend a vision that gives European citizens and businesses control over their energy future, by building on Europe’s strengths: technology, innovation, and efficiency.

EU Heads of States and Governments will set the direction for the construction of a resilient Energy Union at the European Council of 19-20 March.

Read the Joint Letter here.

The EPIA 10th Market Workshop is one of our flagship events and a unique opportunity to discuss market trends with renowned sector analysts and experts. 

The presentations and interactive discussions will tackle the following topics:

  • European growth opportunities
  • Analyzing emerging markets
  • Utility-scale solar power
  • Self-consumption
  • Global trends and opportunities

The workshop will be preceded by a networking drink and interactive dinner on the 25th of March, also in The Hotel.

More information here!


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EDITORIAL: The Answer to Solar Taxes: A Right to Self-Consume

Date : March 2015

By James Watson, Chief Executive Officer

There has been a growing trend for countries in Europe to start considering or introducing so called ‘solar taxes’. These have been applied to household investors and commercial scale investors alike and these instruments represent a challenge to the development of solar power in Europe. Such measures can cause investor uncertainty and increase the risk associated with what should be a very safe investment in solar. 

Countries from Germany to Spain have introduced such mechanisms and it is therefore crucial that the European solar sector creates a meaningful response to these challenges. Not least because what happens in Europe today can be translated into other regions tomorrow, as with about 50% of global solar installations our market is still an exporter of ideas.

The best response to such measures must be to develop and implement a universal right for investors to self-consume and self-generate the solar power they produce in Europe. This is not just a defensive measure to secure what we already have in Europe, such a measure would provide the investor certainty that is needed to provide a shot in the arm for growth in the solar sector. This is why EPIA has been pushing for this right.

Our efforts have begun to pay off, the European Commission announced that as part of its ‘New Deal for Energy Consumers’ package there will be an initiative on renewable self-consumption. It is due to be presented in the first half of 2015. This is very good news, but the work to frame this initiative is already underway and will require determination to make sure that it reflects the needs of our sector. 

Self-consumption in the commercial sector is a key element of this, as supermarkets, warehouses and superstores, etc. can play a big role in the overall integration of solar power into the electricity market. This is not to take away anything from the importance of household solar investors, who also contribute greatly to the development of our sector. These investors will be crucial in determining how a right to self-consume and self-generate solar power can develop in Europe.

Providing security and certainty for investors through a right to self-consume would clearly give a signal to the market that solar power was a safe investment. This would undoubtedly support more growth of solar power in Europe and could lead to other markets adopting similar regulations.

EPIA aims to deliver a facilitating framework for self-consumption and self-generation through engagement with relevant stakeholders in the coming months. We have already engaged in numerous meetings with the Commission, and on 27 March will meet with DSO’s, ACER, ENTSO-E and ESTIF to discuss how to bring forward ideas on how to frame the proposed right to self-consume. On the 13th March we also met with members of the London Forum (the platform for energy consumers) to promote EPIA’s position.

Protecting investments in solar power and creating a predictable regulatory environment are sure fire ways to bring the boom back to the European solar sector.


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HIGHLIGHT: Setting sail: Commission reveals its Energy Union Strategy

Date : March 2015

Frauke Thies, Chief Policy Officer

On 25 February, the new European Commission revealed its Energy Union Strategy Communication, defining the energy policy priorities of the coming years. This general framing document marks the Juncker Commission's first milestone on energy policy, setting overarching objectives and announcing 15 policy action points between now and 2017. 
While the Communication puts a strong emphasis on security of supply, through enhanced cooperation and diversification of fuel supply routes, other dimensions include a focus on a fully integrated European energy market, the moderation of energy demand, the decarbonisation of the economy, as well as research, innovation and competitiveness.

In the 3 months ahead of the publication of the Energy Union Communication, EPIA was in continuous contact with different Directorates, Commissioners and Cabinets in the Commission, including in particular also the Cabinets of President Juncker and Commissioners Arias Cañete and Sefčovič. Our President gave a presentation at the Energy Union conference organised by the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in Riga, and we actively engaged with various stakeholder coalitions to strengthen our message to the European Commission. This included a letter with Eurelectric, Eurogas and EWEA, a letter with all the EU renewable energy associations, a letter with transport related stakeholders and a letter with relevant companies and stakeholders in the energy infrastructure field.

Finally, we are pleased to see a large part of EPIA's recommendations reflected in the official document.

Compared to early drafts, the Commission’s messages have become more positive on renewables and the focus on the energy transition has been strengthened in the document and proposed actions. 

Some highlights include: 

  • A renewable energy package expected in 2015-2017, including a new legislative framework for the period after 2020 and best-practices in self-consumption schemes. From our talks with different representatives of the Commission, we understand that the EU executive takes the view that, if well designed, self-consumption can be a driver for an efficient power system and active consumer engagement. 

  • A new deal for energy consumers expected in 2015/2016. The package will seek the liberalisation of retail markets, notably through more transparent and non-regulated retail tariffs, which are more linked with wholesale market prices. It will also favour the roll-out of smart technology enabling energy services and demand response.

  • An initiative on market design and regional electricity markets expected in 2015/2016, looking into an assessment of capacity mechanisms and market design questions with a view to renewables and demand response. In 2015, the Commission plans to come forward with a Communication to define general directions for this very broad issue area that should be followed by a legislation proposal in 2016. What we learned from the Commission services on the topic so far, indicates a strong focus on the completion of the internal energy market, guidance to streamline the uncoordinated and often counterproductive use of capacity mechanisms, and the role of renewables in the market. The Commission is now in the phase of gathering intelligence. 

You can find the official Commission documents here.

The EPIA team will of course continue our engagement with the Commission, Parliament, Council and other stakeholders and convey the messages and agreed positions developed with our members in the Working Groups. Our next challenge is to ensure that these broad objectives and outlines will turn into concrete and positive results for solar power in Europe.


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Solar Bankability

Date : March 2015

By Ioannis-Thomas Theologitis, Technology Advisor

Improving the Attractiveness of Sustainable Energy Investments in Photovoltaics: Quantifying and Managing the Technical Risk for Current and New Business Models

The new European Project financed by the Horizon 2020 kicked off this month. Over the next two years the consortium which is composed of 3E, ACCELIOS Solar, EURAC, EPIA and TÜV Rheinland will work intensively with the support of an Advisory Board of expert stakeholders to increase trust by establishing a common practice for professional risk assessment based on technical and financial due diligence. The consortium will focus on technical risks, on the way they translate into costs and on the way financial returns appear in different business models.
The specific objectives of the proposal are:
  • To develop, document and establish practices for evaluating and mitigating the technical risks associated with investments in photovoltaics over the project life cycle, i.e., during development, operation and decommissioning.

  • To develop, document and establish practices for valuing such risks when modeling the costs of a PV investment as investors do when evaluating the life cycle costs of such projects.

  • To evaluate how these risks affect the electricity production and the expected return on investment in different business models.

  • To enable the key actors, and particularly the financial market actors, to widely adopt the project results as best practices for the mitigation of risk of sustainable energy investments with current and new business models.

More information about the project will be available soon. 

For more information please contact Ioannis Thomas Theologitis.


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WEBINAR: Quality Assurance Requirements for Rooftop PV

Date : March 2015

By Ioannis-Thomas Theologitis, Technology Advisor

Increased penetration of solar PV has heightened the need for effective quality assurance criteria, in order to improve reliability and ensure high technical lifetime performance and sustainable lifetime return on investment (ROI).

EPIA teams up with DuPont and will host and moderate a webinar on Quality Assurance Requirements for Rooftop PV on 15 April 2015. The webinar is sponsored by DuPont. As quest industry experts the webinar will have Dr. William Gambogi, Research Fellow from DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions and Dipl.-Ing. Florian Reil, Business Field Manager for Solar Energy from TÜV Rheinland.

William Gambogi will discuss risk mitigation strategies for rooftop PV systems that project developers, installers, insurers and financiers can adopt to help improve the overall lifetime and ROI of their solar investment. He will explain what the fundamental differences are between rooftop and ground-installed PV systems, in particular, aspects related to temperature coefficients and UV intensity at the back of panels, and share DuPont's extensive field survey and laboratory testing results and recommendations to help provide industry-standard bill of materials, that will best match power output and expected lifetime goals of PV installations in the growing rooftop market segment.

Florian Reil, will be sharing highlights from TÜV Rheinland's 2014 Quality Monitor report which details types and occurrence of the main failures observed in rooftop PV, including flammability, electrical insulation, partially induced degradation (PID) and hot spots.  He will share some of the R&D efforts being undertaken by TÜV Rheinland to continue to further the reliability and overall lifetime of PV. His presentation will also look at global standardization, including efforts to ensure the reinforcement and definition of the relevant quality assurance standards for rooftop PV are applied correctly and consistently across the industry.

The registration is now open, register here!

Become the next sponsor of an EPIA webinar, have your company's voice heard and follow up with companies and experts by contacting Kinga Timaru-Kast.


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EPIA Welcomes the new EU funded project PV Financing

Date : March 2015

By Myrto Papoutsi, Business Development & Project Officer

Following up on the achievements and the success of the 2 European projects PV LEGAL and PV GRID, EPIA is now very actively involved in the new Horizon 2020 EU funded project PV FINANCING which started in January 2015 and will run for 30 months. The project Kick off meeting took place in February at the premises of BSW Solar in Berlin, in order to further discuss the planning for realizing the objectives of the project with the consortium.

The overall goal of the project is to analyze the links between innovative PV business models and facilitating the access to financing. PV FINANCING aims to define and evolve new PV business and financing models, to disseminate them among stakeholders, to shape the necessary policy framework for their application and to remove barriers that prevent those models from realization.  

Consequently, the goal of PV FINANCING is to help stakeholders from specific PV segments to implement projects based on these new business models, while applying innovative equity and debt financing schemes. Private investors, decision makers in banks and insurance companies will be introduced to the new business models, allowing them to include these results in their decision making process as regards new investments while decreasing the transaction costs and increasing the availability of financing for PV projects.

For more information regarding the project please contact Alexandre Roesch or Myrto Papoutsi.


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Call for applications: EPIA Operations and Maintenance task force

Date : March 2015

By Ioannis-Thomas Theologitis, Technology Advisor

Acknowledging the emerging importance of Operations and Maintenance for the future performance of our sector, EPIA, together with its members, will lead this initiative developing best practice guidelines for the European solar sector.

Objectives of the O&M Task Force:

  • Identify best practices and draft industry-led guidelines by the end of 2015, and promote these guidelines across Europe

  • Encourage debate amongst high-level experts from the O&M and asset management business

  • Facilitate networking with your peers, clients and suppliers

EPIA is bringing together first line experts on O&M to drive the discussion and produce guidelines that the industry, the financial community and all the relevant stakeholders can benefit from. Leading companies such as First Solar, 3E, Fortum, Enel, Adler Solar, among many others, have already joined the Task Force.

Only EPIA members are allowed to join the task force, so if you are not yet a member please join by completing and returning the application form or contact Kinga. Deadline for applications to join the Task Force is 18th March.

The O&M Task Force kick-off meeting is planned to take place towards the end of March, in Brussels. More information on the exact date will follow shortly.


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EPIA shared European experience at the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation Conference

Date : March 2015

By Alexandre Roesch, Head of Regulatory Affairs

Japan’s enormous solar potential could only be fully unlocked if major market reforms are put in place. This was the main message conveyed by EPIA at the REvision conference 2015, organised by the Japanese Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF) in Tokyo on 4 March.

After an important market development last year (9.2 GW), observers are increasingly pointing to the fact that vertically integrated utilities (which own and operate the grids in their respective areas) start refusing connection to new PV systems. This is on the ground of grid constraints, casting doubts about the possibility to realise the large PV projects pipeline. Against this background and on the basis of the European experience, EPIA insisted on the need to implement real ownership unbundling as a pre-condition to ensure fair treatment of new entrants in the energy system (so far, the proposal presented by the Japanese authorities only envisages legal ownership). EPIA also shared its experience on grid integration solutions, by recalling the fact that an increasing number of grid support services will be delivered by PV and wind generators.

The need to implement a properly designed corridor scheme to ensure that the Japanese Feed-in-tariffs scheme will follow the technology cost digression path was another important message.

Finally, the Japanese energy ministry (METI) is opening up a debate about the evolution of the Japanese energy mix with a 2030 time horizon. In this context, and while investments plans in coal are being discussed, EPIA insisted on the need to define an ambitious renewable energy target, as this will provide the necessary visibility to investors and decrease the cost of capital.


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Eufores 13th Parliamentary Congress – Vienna

Date : March 2015

On 14th March EPIA CEO James Watson spoke on a panel at the Eufores Parliamentary Congress about the advent of capacity markets in Europe and the impact on electricity market design. 

The event was attended by over 100 policymakers from across Europe and the European Parliament, both Commission Vice-President Sefcovic and Commissioner Hahn were in attendance.

In the panel, moderated by MEP Claude Turmes, Watson outlined the need to move to seeing baseload in terms of renewables and flexibility rather than coal and nuclear. This was well received. He also outlined the fact that arguments around the socio-economic need for coal were not as convincing as their proponents suggested, citing the example of Wales where coal has been phased out resulting in a wealthier and healthier society.


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James Watson
EPIA
Contact
James Watson
Chief Executive Officer
@ : j.watson@epia.org
T. : +32 (0)2 704 46 70

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