Intersolar Europe 2017: Industry offers defiant response to Trump’s Paris snub

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
Image credit: © Solar Promotion GmbH

Solar and energy storage will continue their impressive momentum regardless of the US’ involvement or lack of in the global climate agreement and the country now faces the risk of missing out on the rewards of a switch to a low carbon economy, industry figures have said. 

The Paris deal, which Trump has confirmed the US will leave, offered a strong global signal to investors offering an intangible but significant boost to the industry.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

News of the US plans broke during the Intersolar Europe exhibition in Munich and were met with a frosty but defiant response.

One California-based company director, who preferred not to be named, said: “It will take three years for the US to leave the Paris agreement. The Trump presidency won’t last that long.”

California approved plans to increase its renewable energy goal to 100% and mandate solar on new buildings on the same day as Trump’s announcement.

SolarPower Europe CEO James Watson was scathing of the move.

“Trump withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is one of the most irresponsible decisions from a major country in modern history,” he told PV Tech in a statement. “The US needs to be stepping up to lead on tackling climate change, not stepping out. The rest of the world will keep calm and carry on addressing climate change, while the US will simply miss out on the rewards that go with transitioning an economy away from fossil fuels.”

Jef Poortmans, programme director for PV at imec suggested the move could backfire. “The biggest victim will be the United States itself. His decision means the progress that US companies could profit from in this growing sector are now reduced. It won’t have too much influence, the rest of the world has indicated its intention to go on, even the Russians. And inside the US, individual states and cities have also said they will continue to invest in this green track,” he said.

The response from the energy storage industry is similar with some hope that in the end, the maths will win out.

“In Germany the energy transition was motivated politically. In the US there was always discussion about climate change, but really the main driver was the economics,” said Philip Hiersemenzel communications director at Younicos. “That’s why you see the largest wind farms in Texas, [which is] not the most eco-aggressive state, let’s put it that way.”

With that pragmatism, Younicos believes the economic argument for clean energy will win out.

Wider response

In a strong statement of disapproval, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that he would be stepping down as an advisor to the White House. Musk had been serving on two Presidential advisory councils.

US-based sustainability think tank, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), issued a statement responding to the president’s decision.

“We are greatly disappointed in President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The US solar industry employed 260,077 workers last year, a nearly 25 percent increase in the number of jobs since 2015. Betting on energy technologies of the past is bad for business and bad for jobs,” the RMI statement continued.

Additional reporting by Andy Colthorpe

8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
17 June 2025
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

Read Next

July 19, 2024
US solar manufacturer First Solar has started an investigation into several crystalline-silicon cell solar manufacturers for potential infringement of its patents.
July 19, 2024
Investment fund Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners and its subsidiary Primergy Solar have reached commercial operations at their 690MWac/966MWdc Gemini solar-plus-storage project in Nevada.
July 19, 2024
The Energy Storage for Resilient Homes Act would allow residents of the two states to use funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase residential BESS.
July 19, 2024
SunPower said the decision was not made "lightly" and will consider options to support its mutual customers and collective business pipeline.
July 19, 2024
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a loan of up to US$861.3 million to support 200MW of solar PV and 285MW/1,140MWh of battery energy storage system (BESS) projects in Puerto Rico.
Premium
July 19, 2024
The corporate world is taking an increased interest in community solar, which can take multiple forms, from tax equity to offtake.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
July 31, 2024
1:00 PM (BST) / 2:00PM (CEST)
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia
Solar Media Events
October 8, 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA