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EDITORIAL - EPIA and Solar Financing: A New Frontier

Date : April 2015

By James Watson, Chief Executive Officer

EPIA is always looking to drive forward the agenda of the issues that impact the solar sector the most. As many of you will be aware, in Europe in 2014 we had around 7GW of installed solar capacity, a decrease from previous year’s rate of installation, at a time when we could expect more growth in our sector. There are many causes for this, but we believe that significant contributory factors are the phasing out of incentive schemes, such as feed-in-tariifs, and retroactive measures that have potentially dis-incentivised investments in solar power across European countries. So with declining public sector financing and challenging regulations in some countries impacting investment, it is clear that the next challenge that our sector needs to overcome is the question of financing for solar power in Europe.

Firstly some good news. EPIA has worked ceaselessly to deliver support from European institutions, notably the European Commission, against retroactive measures. A recent initiative launched by the Directorate-General for financial stability, financial services and capital markets (DG FISMA) is examining the impact of national measures on investment in Europe. This is a clear opportunity for solar companies to explain to the Commission exactly what the impact of retroactive measures are on investment. EPIA is leading a member lead response to this initiative.

This year also sees EPIA expanding its research and analysis services into examining the topic of development of financing for solar power. EPIA is now engaged in three projects under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research and development funding stream that aim to contribute to addressing the finance challenge. EPIA and its partners will work on a PV Financing project, a Solar Bankability project and a CrowdFundRES project. 

The PV Financing project examines ways of bringing innovative business models forward and the issue of access to financing. These new models will then be used in our sector to implement projects, while using the new approaches for equity and debt financing schemes. Importantly the successful models will be promoted with banks, financiers and policymakers. This aims to ensure that the right frameworks are created and that any barriers are addressed. 

The Solar Bankability project aims to increase trust in solar projects amongst investors, financiers and insurance companies. The project will create best practice for risk assessment based on technical and financial due diligence. EPIA will be at the forefront of disseminating these best practices and ensuring that the new processes are adopted across Europe. 

Finally the CrowdfundRES project will explore the way crowdfunding can be used for developing renewable energy projects. EPIA will work to ensure cooperation between solar project developers and crowdfunding platforms.

It is working on projects such as these that allows EPIA to provide solutions to challenges that we face in our sector, such as financing. We are very excited that we will help to shape the framework for solar project financing for many years to come.


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HIGHLIGHT: EPIA celebrates its 30th Anniversary

Date : April 2015

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

2015 is a powerful year for EPIA and particularly exciting, as we are celebrating our 30 years anniversary with our members, partners and friends. You are given the opportunity to examine EPIA’s evolution over the last 30 years and to also have a glimpse of the future of EPIA and solar power in Europe. EPIA is proud to be one of the oldest solar associations globally. Through over 30 years of excellence and leadership, EPIA supported the creation of the world’s largest solar market.
2015 is full of exciting initiatives to celebrate our 30 year anniversary – the most important one, our 30th Anniversary Party! The event will be open to our members and invited EPIA friends. But, this vibrant year will not be marked by the party only. Will EPIA evolve into a next phase? The European solar market has been rapidly developing and the nature of our sector and our organisation has fundamentally changed from where we were 30 years ago, when we were founded. We have come to represent much more and can now boast of a membership that represents the full solar value chain. 
In light of this and in recognition of the great work that has been undertaken in the past 30 years, we believe that this year is the right year for us to evolve our organisation into one which comprehensively reflects who we are today and who we want to be in the future.
The EPIA team will keep you posted about our next evolution phase.

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EPIA supports the EU PV Technology Platform conference on BIPV

Date : April 2015

By Giorgia Concas, Policy Advisor

The European PV Technology Platform holds yearly high-level conferences on core topics for the PV sector in Europe. This year’s event will consist in a discussion among investors, architects, construction, real estate and PV industry representatives, as well as policy makers about challenges and opportunities for the full-scale deployment of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) in Europe. 
Titled “Energy Efficiency in Buildings and Building-Integrated Photovoltaics: Where Sustainability meets Aesthetics”, the conference will take place on 8 July on the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects premises in the heart of London. EPIA is proud to be involved in the organisation of this high-level event and to announce that prominent speakers from AGC Flat Glass, Merck as well as the European Commission have already confirmed their presence. The event is co-organised with WIP, EUREC and the JRC in association with the SETA Network. It is supported by the European Construction Technology Platform, the Smart Grids Technology Platform, the Building Performance Institute, the Energy Efficient Buildings Association, the British Photovoltaic Association and John Lang LaSalle. You can find more information here.

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The launch of the EPIA Global Market Outlook and the Solar Bankability Summit at Intersolar Europe

Date : April 2015

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

EPIA's annual Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics is the most authoritative market analysis report for the global solar power sector. The report will be launched at Intersolar Europe, during the ‘Welcome & Global Market Outlook Session‘, on 9th of June, from 9.00 AM. 

Oliver Schäfer, President of EPIA, will present the findings of the report. With comprehensive historical market data, five-year forecasts for the main global markets, as well as an analysis of the role that solar is playing in the European energy system. The Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics is an indispensable tool for the global solar sector and energy stakeholders alike. The report will be distributed at the conference site, as well as at the EPIA booth during Intersolar Europe. For the first time we are offering you the chance to advertise in the report and very few advertisement slots are still available: please contact Kinga on k.timaru@epia.org before 27th of April if you are interested.

Frauke Thies, EPIA Chief Policy Officer, will moderate, and James Watson, EPIA CEO will present further insights into European market development during the ‘Global PV Markets - Europe Session’ on 9th of June, from 11.00 AM. Frauke will be also moderating the ‘Identifying New Ways to Take Financing & Securisation Forward across Europe Session’ on 10th of June, from 11.00 AM.

EPIA will also organise a Solar Bankability Summit, on 11th June 2015, from 2.00 PM. The Solar Bankability Summit will focus on quality and bankability aspects, present state-of-the-art practices and discuss the challenges of industry’s commitment to improving performance and reliability. Panel discussions and presentations will examine technical performance, risk assessment, financial impact, and business models. The event is organized by EPIA, together with the Sunspec Alliance. The event will be followed by a Networking Cocktail at the EPIA Booth, where debate will continue in a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of networking opportunities.

Come and visit the EPIA experts at the EPIA booth in Hall B2, Number B2.119!


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Networking and knowledge sharing at the 10th Market Workshop

Date : April 2015

By Maiju Huhtaniska, Junior Communications Officer

EPIA’s annual Market Workshop has achieved a position as one of the flagship events of the entire solar sector. This year the 10th Market Workshop was open for the public for the first time, gathering together a big group of participants inside and outside of the industry, as well as from the policy sector and the European Commission. 

The workshop was titled “PV Development Drivers in the EU and Worldwide” and was an exceptional opportunity to understand market trends inside and outside Europe, to discuss the main drivers and challenges in the various market segments and to meet other key market actors. The event took place in The Hotel, one of the finest locations in Brussels and offered the participants good networking opportunities throughout the two days.

The two day event started with an interactive dinner debate, a new concept introduced to the workshop programme. This was well received by the participants. During the dinner, participants exchanged ideas on different business relevant topics moderated by current and former EPIA Presidents. The Workshop day started with a welcome speech from EPIA’s President, Oliver Schaefer and was followed by a keynote speech from Andreas Luxa, Marketing Director from Siemens. The full day was divided into four thematic sessions which tackled the following topics: European growth opportunities, analyzing emerging markets, utility-scale solar power, self-consumption and global trends & opportunities.

As the tradition goes, EPIA announced some long waited preliminary figures from June’s publication of the Global Market Outlook for 2015-2019. The full press release can be seen here. All the other Workshop’s presentations are available here for the participants. We want to thank all the participants attending this year's EPIA Market Workshop for making it an interesting and valuable event! Do not forget to save the date for next year's event, the 11th EPIA Market Workshop, which will take place on 9-10th March 2016.


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First ever sponsored webinar hosted by EPIA – Great start to a new activity

Date : April 2015

By Ioannis-Thomas Theologitis, Technology Advisor

EPIA teamed up with DuPont and hosted and moderated its first sponsored webinar on Quality Assurance Requirements for Rooftop PV on 15 April. The webinar was sponsored by DuPont and was a successful event with more than 50 participants and invited guest expert speakers from DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions and TÜV Rheinland. 

William Gambogi and Florian Reil, our guest speakers, covered a wide range of important aspects, replying to a number of interesting questions from the participants who joined the webinar from different parts of the world. The high quality of the webinar service was reflected by the feedback of the attendees who found the content of the presentations, as well as the Q&A session extremely useful.  

The participants were particularly interested in knowing more about existing testing standards requirements, as well as field survey results. Some other key questions from the participants focused on topics such as how different climatic conditions could have an impact on the module or the PV system, and how the industry and the standardization bodies address this matter.

You can find the full recording and the presentations of the webinar here.

Stay informed and updated on future EPIA webinars and don’t miss the chance to promote your business activities to our global network through our service.


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EPIA Operations and Maintenance task force held its first meeting

Date : April 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. 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. 

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

Leading companies such as First Solar, 3E, Fortum, Enel, Adler Solar, among many others, have already joined the Task Force. The O&M Task Force kick-off meeting took place the 23 April.  You can find more information on the meeting here. It is still possible toi join the task force.

Please note that 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 Timaru-Kast.


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Call for applications: EPIA Trade Task Force

Date : April 2015

By Alexandre Roesch, Head of Regulatory Affairs

EPIA, together with its members, are running a Trade Task Force to tackle trade related issues to facilitate trade for the solar sector. The Trade Task Force was originally set-up in 2014 in order to support the negotiation of the "Environmental Goods Agreement" (EGA), which aims at liberalising tariffs for a series of renewable energy technologies including solar.

As its early initiative, the Trade Task Force has already developed a list of product recommendations for inclusion in the EGA. A majority of the solar-related products that the Task Force has actively promoted for inclusion in the EGA have been included in the list of suggested goods: equipment, polysilicon, metallurgic silicon, wafers, cells, modules, inverters and power control tools. The next milestone in these negotiations is the next round in May 2015. This process may well be the first-ever worldwide agreement to facilitate trade in the solar sector.

Depending on the needs identified by the sector, the EPIA Trade Task Force can also address other trade related issues, such as the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Objectives of the Trade Task Force:

  • Encourage debate on trade related topics amongst high-level experts from the sector

  • Identify opportunities and influence the European Commission's position on trade negotiations

  • Facilitate networking with your peers, clients and suppliers
Leading companies such as Trina, Enel Green Power, REC, SolarWorld, Hanwha QCELLS and Wacker Chemie have already joined. EPIA invites you to join them in this Task Force, share your experiences and knowledge and benefit from the exchange with other experts.

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 Myrto Papoutsi


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EPIA issues position paper on 2030 legislative framework for renewable energies

Date : April 2015

By Giorgia Concas, Policy Advisor

The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive, which established an objective of 20% of renewable energies in the final energy consumption by 2020, may be revised by the European Commission next year.

EPIA presented its recommendations for this revision in the position paper “Ensuring a cost effective growth of solar power in Europe”.

Firstly, we recommend the strengthening of European permitting and grid connection rules so as to decrease project development costs, which are still very high in some countries.

Secondly, RES priority access and dispatch rules should be maintained. These rules encourage the system to become more flexible while protecting renewable energies from massive curtailment during the transition phase. In connection to that, today’s regulatory vacuum around connection arrangements and the trade of grid services should be fixed through European clear framework rules and definitions.

Thirdly, we call for European regulation to promote prosumers by discouraging taxation on self-consumption and by supporting fair payment of grid costs. The Commission should also work to facilitate community RES projects and to support RES solutions on buildings.


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Towards clean future with solar power and new technologies

Date : April 2015

By Maiju Huhtaniska, Junior Communications Officer

Two ambitious pioneers and innovators, both pilots, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are attempting to fly around the world on a revolutionary plane powered with nothing but solar energy. The SolarImpulse flight demonstrates the fact that with renewable energies and new technologies we can achieve what some consider impossible!

EPIA participates in SolarImpulse’s FutureIsClean‬ campaign because we want to inspire and mobilise people towards a brighter and smarter future. EPIA believes that a solar powered Europe will deliver a future that is clean. We are creating a better future where people are empowered to make clean energy choices! Solar is the solution for decarbonising the power sector and fighting climate change.

Working together we will achieve our goals. Join the campaign and show your support to clean and bright future! Future is Clean campaign will culminate in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) this December by making all the voices of the community heard by our leaders.

Join the campaign here.


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Maiju Huhtaniska
EPIA
Contact
Maiju Huhtaniska
Junior Communications Officer
@ : m.huhtaniska@epia.org
T. : +32 (0)2 709 55 26

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