EU PVSEC: Self-consumption holds vast potential as solar business model, says IEA

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Self-consumption and other new business models for PV should be given more attention by policymakers and industry, according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

New apporaches “can reduce and ultimately suppress the reliance on dedicated financial support,” said Marie Latour, senior national policy advisor at the EPIA during an event at EU PVSEC.

Latour was among the speakers at the International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS) Task 1 and EPIA workshop in Paris on Monday, titled “Ensuring robust PV market development with limited financial support: the role of new business models”.

Chairman of the IEA PVPS, Stefan Nowak concluded: “Even in today’s difficult economic times, new PV business models have the potential to generate a sustainable and cost-effective development of PV, which would be very beneficial for the society. The complete electricity sector could win from the development of solutions such as self-consumption. Policymakers and electricity stakeholders such as utilities and grid operators should better take these new PV business models into account.”

The workshop looked at the possible impact of new business models on the continuing development of PV and in suppressing and ultimately reducing costs. Speakers at the event discussed the need for improving the integration of solar power into electricity systems, as well as the possible future role of grid operators and utility companies in new business models for PV. In particular, self-consumption was singled out as holding vast potential.

Latour said that as well as providing a platform from which PV could be freed of dedicated financial support, self consumption “…can also ease electricity system integration and keep grid costs under control”. Latour went on to say that with self consumption schemes already in place and the world’s biggest end-consumer market for PV, Europe “definitely has a ‘card to play’” and “…a competitive advantage it cannot afford to waste”.

Other speakers included Izumi Kaizuka, analyst at RTS Corporation, Gaëtan Masson of IEA PVPS/EPIA, Lu Fang of the China PV Society, Dr Bonna Newman of research institute AMOLF, Valerick Cassagne of Total, Bryan Ekus at the International Battery and Energy Storage Alliance, Thomas Walter at PV company Wirsol, Thierry Lepercq of Solairedirect, Nicolas Gourvitch of renewable energy financial advisors Green Giraffe Energy Bankers and Achim Woyte of renewable energy consultancy and software company 3E.

The workshop event was held as an official parallel event to the 28th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC). The annual event is taking place this year in Paris until 4 October.

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