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.
Do not miss EPIA events organised within the frame of the European Utility Week 2014:
You can also meet the EPIA team of experts during the European Utility Week, by scheduling a meeting with them.
EPIA members benefit from a 20% discount on Conference Pass and a Free Exhibition Pass. You can find more information about the discounts offered to EPIA members here.
Reacting to today's announcement by the European Commission to approve UK State Aid for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, Dr. James Watson, CEO of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), issued the following statement:
"We are disappointed by the decision of the European Commission to approve Hinckley C. We understand that only 16 Commissioners supported it, which is far from a ringing endorsement of the plan. This decision, which is at odds with the objective of enhanced competition in the energy sector, will undoubtedly generate further distortion in the energy sector and hamper the internal energy market.
Solar is expected to cope with market rules that are not fit for them, as they have been designed to accommodate the characteristics of large, conventional power plants. Instead of validating another subsidy to nuclear, European policymakers should be making all energy sources compete on a level playing field.
EPIA welcomes the intention of the Austrian government to take legal steps against the decision of the European Commission and looks forward to the decision of the European Court of Justice in the matter."
Final results of the project have been discussed during the event with representatives of the European Commission, the solar and wind and industries, as well as electricity and market operators. Presentations from the event and project’s publications are available here.
A partner of the project, EPIA has actively contributed to the project by sharing its knowledge and vision on the necessary evolution of the regulatory framework. REserviceS confirms that a power system with high shares of variable renewables is technically feasible and even cost efficient. More than ever, solar is becoming a mainstream source of energy.
The Forum presented the final results of the PV GRID project during different sessions where project partners - DSOs and representatives of the solar PV industry - and external experts presented their views on technical and regulatory solutions for a smoothr integration of high levels of solar into the grid.
More information about the event as well as the presentations are available here.