A European Commission-financed project aimed at increasing PV penetration has concluded with a call for a new regulatory structure to support self-consumption of solar power in the EU.
The final report of the PV Parity Project said PV policy needed to be readjusted to account for the growing use of solar power to save energy not just to generate investor returns.
The PV Parity project, which winds up this month, has since 2011 been exploring PV competitiveness in 11 European countries and ways of supporting greater PV penetration.
A final report published to mark the conclusion of the project said that although PV has become far more competitive in Europe, support was still needed to allow it to continue competing with fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
Although the growth in PV in Europe has largely been driven by an investor-led feed-in tariff model, the report highlighted that this is now shifting to self-consumption of PV-generated power by households and businesses.
It said that policy support for solar should now reflect this transition through a ‘right to self-consume’ and specific self-consumption incentives, or net metering, where PV owners receive credit for excess PV power they feed into the grid.
Although a number of the 11 project countries have introduced such measures, many have not, and the report urged those countries that have not to “readjust” their PV policies.
“These types of support schemes seem of great importance for the goal of the achievement of PV competitiveness. With both instruments the production of solar electricity can be better linked to direct consumption. The consumer produces the electricity and becomes the prosumer,” the report said.