Even if EPIA has promoted much higher ambition, we are glad that our core ask - an EU-binding target for renewable energy - is part of the deal. However, the 27% number is clearly too low to unlock the full potential of solar. It also falls far short of the new Commission President Juncker’s ambition for Europe’s Energy Union to become the world number one in renewable energies. Finally, no breakdown of the renewables objective into nationally binding targets is foreseen, leaving important questions regarding the actual enforcement.
Nevertheless, the renewables target in itself is an important political signal that investments in solar will continue in Europe. After a period of retroactive and other unplanned changes to solar-related regulation in several European countries, the binding renewables target is a welcome commitment in favour of more stable and predictable regulatory frameworks for future investments. Importantly, the renewables objective also signals the decision makers’ willingness to be serious about market design and create appropriate market conditions allowing solar power and other renewables to continue growing.
With a stable and predictable framework in place, solar can compete and progress in the energy market far beyond the 2030 target. We will work closely with the European Commission, Parliament and Council in the coming months to ensure an effective implementation of the defined 2030 objectives and pave the way for further solar growth.
The EPIA session gathered experts from the International Energy Agency (IEA), network operators (TenneT, STEDIN), utilities (ENEL Group), the power market (EPEX Spot) and the solar industry (First Solar). These key partners discussed the opportunities arising from a power system where decentralised renewables represent a major share.
The session explored how Europe’s energy landscape is evolving and participants agreed that conventional market players have to fundamentally re-think their business approach in Europe, in the context of solar power becoming an increasingly cost-competitive solution that empowers consumers.
In its recent Technology Roadmap, the IEA estimates that the cost of solar has decreased by two thirds over the past six years and could decrease by another 65% by 2050. There is no doubt that solar energy will soon represent a significant share of the power system.
It is clear from the discussions that understanding the dynamics of solar power and embracing the many business opportunities of a solar-powered world is a very pragmatic and obvious move for any company in the energy sector which wants to be part of the future.
As a positive driver for change, solar was in everybody’s mind at the European Utility Week. Several speakers clearly identified solar as a great opportunity for utilities to finally bridge the missing link between them and the final consumers.
The EPIA session “Transforming the power business - Opportunities in a renewable-driven and decentralised power system” was part of series of interventions EPIA made during the European Utility Week that took place from 4-6 November in Amsterdam. More information is available here.
In October 2014, ACER and CEER – the two European organisations gathering national energy regulators – issued a joint report displaying the results of a year of comprehensive gas and electricity market monitoring.
Titled “Annual Report on the Results of Monitoring the Internal Electricity and Natural Gas Markets in 2013”, the report brings a welcome contribution to the debate on the impact of financial support to renewable energies on consumers’ bills. While renewable energy charges have been amongst the main drivers for the increase in the so-called “non-contestable part” of retail electricity bills (i.e. network tariffs and taxes) in recent years, such charges represent a very limited share of the bills. In 2013 these corresponded to less than 6% of the average tariff paid by a household living in a European capital.
Thanks to massive cost reductions in renewable energy technologies, in particular in solar, 2013 can be considered as a peak year in terms of support to renewables. Unlike some increasingly expensive conventional energy technologies, solar will progressively require less financial support as it becomes cost competitive.
Moreover, in many EU countries, if the benefits of the renewables development on the wholesale market prices were transferred to the retail level, the decline in “contestable charges” (i.e. the commodity component) would offset the increase in “incontestable charges".
This report confirms the findings of the European Commission Communication on “Energy prices and costs in Europe” and its Staff Working Document on “Energy Economic Developments in Europe”, published in January 2014, that EPIA analysed in a briefing document.
The EPIA sponsorship offers gives you the chance to increase your brand visibility, to enter into dialogue with key players and to position your company at the forefront of the solar energy sector.
Check out the 2015 visibility packages here and choose the option that best fits your marketing strategy!
EPIA is offering you the following visibility opportunities and brand promotion solutions to choose from:
For further information contact Kinga Timaru-Kast, Head of Membership & Business Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: +33 2 709 55 41
The “EPIA Activities & Membership – 2015 Edition”, which will be available both in print and online, is an indispensable networking tool and exclusive guide for all EPIA members, as well as all people interested in the solar photovoltaic sector. The “EPIA Activities & Membership – 2015 Edition” is printed in a handy 'stretched A5' format and is distributed throughout the whole year at major events in which EPIA participates, giving our members the chance to boost their visibility and promote their brand.
Our members will be contacted shortly by Publishing Events, the company selected by EPIA to gather the data, providing our members with their access codes and further details for updating their company's profile. Please note that the deadline to complete and submit your company’s entry is 12 December 2014.
For any questions, please contact Myrto Papoutsi on +32 (0)2 709 55 46 or email: email@example.com
The study demonstrates that society is paying more for conventional energy technologies today, than it is for solar. Taking into account both subsidies and the cost of externalities like human health damages, environmental effects and resources depletion, the total cost of fossil and nuclear technologies by far exceeds the total cost of solar.
While the Commission had already withhold subsidy figures for conventional technologies in another publication earlier this year, it first appeared that the subsidy report could be delayed or suppressed again. Following a Joint Letter with other renewable energy associations that EPIA had initiated, the Commission finally did publish the study, after what we understand has been a strong internal debate. Very active during the stakeholder process accompanying the development of the study, EPIA welcomed the release of the report.
* The study estimates that significant support to solar power was introduced only recently and probably reached its peak in 2012.
The IEA estimates that solar system prices have decreased by two thirds in just six years in most markets and that the cost of solar technology could go down by another 65% by 2050. The IEA has also updated upwards its forecast and now predicts that solar could generate up to 16% of the world’s electricity by 2050. The Agency, however, warns that the increasing solar competitiveness alone will not lead to market development.
Clear political targets set at country level and appropriate regulatory frameworks are needed to increase investors’ visibility and confidence, and to lower the cost of capital of solar projects, making them even more competitive.
The IEA recognises that the lack of long-term price visibility inherent to current market designs is an obstacle to investments in capital-intensive technologies, such as solar. To overcome this barrier, policy frameworks need to strike a balance between predictable financial schemes and gradual exposure to market prices.