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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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Italy: EPIA sends an Open Letter to the Government on the proposed Decree-Law

Date : July 2014

By Alexandre Roesch, Head of Regulatory Affairs

EPIA sent on 15 July 2014 an Open Letter to the Italian Ministers of Economic Development, and of Economy and Finance about the newly proposed Decree-Law DL 91/2014.
While the previous stable and predictable regulatory framework in Italy played a crucial role in driving private investments in PV in recent years, with very tangible and positive results, the recent proposals described in the Decree-Law DL 91/2014 will severely endanger the growing Italian PV market. The EPIA Open Letter calls on the Italian Government to revise its proposal in order to maintain a stable and positive investment environment for PV in the country.

Read the Open Letter here.

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EDITORIAL: Attack defeated, European Court of Justice confirms Renewable Energy Directive

Date : July 2014

By Frauke Thies, Policy Director

National support of renewable energy sources is in full conformity with the EU Treaty. This judgement was made by no one less than the European Court of Justice in its ruling on the Ålands Vindkraft case (C-573/12) on 01 July. With such a clear confirmation of the validity of the Renewable Energy Directive, the EU Court is sending an important signal to investors. Indeed, the Directive appears strengthened by this ruling, giving Member States the full means to live up to their 2020 national binding targets.
The European Court of Justice reached its verdict in the case opposing on the one hand the Swedish Energy Agency and on the other hand Ålands Vindkraft, a wind electricity producer based in Finland which wanted to receive Swedish support for the electricity it exports to Sweden. The Court concluded that the current approach of implementing national support schemes for renewable energy is fully justified and Member States are not required to support the production of renewable energy in other EU States.

EPIA welcomed the clear conclusions of the Court. A ruling favourable to Ålands Vindkraft could have had a destabilising effect on the existing support framework for renewables. Although the binding character of the 20% renewable energy target with its break-down into national 2020 targets had never been questioned, the opening of support could have created high uncertainty for investors.

The ruling of course does not exclude cross border trading and regional cooperation, and the Renewables Directive already offers a positive framework for voluntary cooperation on support mechanisms and target achievements between countries. But Member States should not be forced to open their support schemes to imports, which in the current circumstances would only trigger a race to the bottom between Member States and discourage investments. A forced opening of national support and a blank one-size-fits-all approach on renewables are bound to face this problem at least as long as energy markets themselves are not harmonised.

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HIGHLIGHT: PV providing flexibility to the distribution grid - From troublemaker to solution provider

Date : July 2014

By Frauke Thies, Policy Director

With growing shares of photovoltaics (PV) being integrated into the electricity system in Europe, it is no surprise that questions of grid management and stability are increasingly coming into focus. What still is more surprising to many players in the energy field, however, is that PV systems themselves hold a large and often untapped potential to support the distribution grid.
Did you know that already today, PV systems - primarily through their inverters - are able to deliver a broad range of valuable services for voltage control, frequency support and system restoration, sometimes even at very favourable costs? At least for many Distribution System Operators (DSOs), this is news. In the past, they have often perceived PV as a troublemaker in the grid, disregarding its significant potential to provide concrete solutions for system stability. 

However, with growing shares of decentralised generation, demand response and changing consumer profiles, the business model of the DSOs is changing as they are challenged to become more active system managers. In fact, tapping into the possibilities that PV offers would enable DSOs to operate their grid more efficiently, provide better service to their customers, and keep consumer bills under control. 

To shed light on these possibilities and identify the appropriate steps forward, EPIA and the European Distribution System Operators' Association for Smart Grids (EDSO) organised a joint event during the European Sustainable Energy Week on 24 June, involving grid operators, PV suppliers, the European Commission, as well as a very broad audience of over 120 participants. 

The message of the event was clear: Whilst DSOs recognise the possibilities that PV is able to offer and are warming up to these new opportunities, unfortunately the regulatory framework in most European countries currently does not enable them to engage in the necessary business relationship with PV system owners. Instead of allowing grid operators to remunerate PV generators for services they can provide, regulation often forces them to go for much more costly alternative investments. 

It is high time that European governments and regulators engage in an updating of existing rules. Everyone, including the end consumers, would benefit from a regulatory framework for the provision of flexibility services from PV that would clearly define the role, the possibilities and the remuneration of the different actors.

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Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018: Exclusive extra-content for EPIA Members now available

Date : July 2014

By Sinead Orlandi, Business Intelligence Officer

Following the recent launch of the “Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018”, EPIA Members have access to exclusive extra-content that will help them further develop their businesses. 
A detailed EU analysis by country (including market, policy context, forecast and market segmentation) and an Overview of Support schemes in Europe are now available here, exclusively for EPIA Members. Please log in to the Members Area of the website to access all this information.

Additionally, EPIA Members can access on the same webpage all global historical and forecast data (country by country, region by region), as well as all figures and tables of the report and a presentation of the main findings of the report.

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PV GRID and REserviceS Final Events: Shading light on PV grid integration and grid support services potential

Date : July 2014

By Manoël Rekinger, Senior Technology Advisor

The PV GRID Final European Event, organised by EPIA in close cooperation with BSW-Solar, will take place on 29 September 2014 in Brussels, in order to present the project final results. During different thematic sessions, DSOs, representatives of the PV industry as well as external experts will discuss technical and regulatory solutions for a smoother integration of high shares of PV into the grid. The event will be followed by a networking cocktail.
More information about this event is available here.

The day after, 30 September 2014, EPIA is co-organising with EWEA the REserviceS Final Event  also in Brussels. During this event, the final study that investigates wind and solar based grid support services at EU level will be launched, offering lively debates in panels about the project’s recommendations from both a technical and a market perspective. A synthesis report of the project results can already be downloaded here. The event will be followed by a networking cocktail.

More information about this event is available here.

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Off-grid PV as a viable option for rural electrification

Date : July 2014
Access to clean and reliable electricity is vital for social and economic development. In many regions of the world, decentralised off-grid renewables, such as photovoltaic systems, represent a cost-effective solution for electricity supply.
The 2nd International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition (IOREC) - that took place on 16-17 June 2014 in Manila, Philippines - highlighted the many opportunities of small-scale and off-grid renewable generation for achieving universal access to electricity. Gathering input from various stakeholders working towards improving access to modern energy services, the conference also gave participants the opportunity to identify the needs in terms of policy, regulation and financing in order to scale up off-grid renewable energy deployment in emerging countries.

IOREC 2014 was organised by IRENA, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE). More information about the event is available here.

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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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