Solar asks for key role as EU embeds green principles into COVID-19 pushback

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
EU heads of state gathered for a videoconference said a return to economic and social normality will demand 'unprecented investment'. Image credit: European Union

EU solar operators have welcomed a move by the bloc’s leaders to ensure green principles guide the response against the COVID-19 emergency, amid claims PV should be a core part of efforts.

Last week, EU heads of state gathered for a remotely held session of the European Council, during which they agreed that the “green transition and digital transformation” should be integrated into the EU’s yet-to-be-defined plan against the pandemic.

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

The national leaders used the videoconference to call on EU authorities – including the European Commission, the only body able to propose EU laws – to come up with a new plan for the bloc to bounce back from the crisis which has so far led to hundreds of thousands of cases EU-wide.

Getting back to the “normal functioning” of EU economies and societies and to sustainable growth will require a “coordinated exit strategy, a comprehensive recovery plan and unprecedented investment,” the EU heads of state argued in their joint statement at the end of the session.

Trade body SolarPower Europe said the European Council’s talk of green transition as a post-pandemic priority was a “smart and forward-looking” move. Solar could play a “key role” given that it is the “most job intensive, low-cost and easily deployed” of all renewables, the association argued.

“We are collaborating closely with our members to bring forward concrete proposals with the aim of mitigating the effects of the virus on the European solar sector and boosting new investments across the entire solar industrial value chain,” said Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of the association.

PV takes up positions in race for European Green Deal

From its initial outbreak in China’s Hubei province, the COVID-19 emergency has taken only a few months to make of Europe another global hotspot. At the time of writing, Italy numbered 97,689 cases, followed by Spain’s 80,110, Germany’s 62,435 and France’s 40,723.

From Germany to Italy, the Netherlands or France, the continent’s top solar markets have started to report worsening impacts as the bottlenecks with PV component shipments from China combine with widespread lockdown measures on European soil.

Some governments have acted to counter the fallout, chiefly by easing the rules applying to auction-backed projects. Germany has paralysed commissioning deadlines, while France and Portugal have both opted to postpone solar tender timetables for the time being. 

Prior to COVID-19’s arrival, EU policymakers had already been busy working to realign the bloc’s economy according to green principles. Proposed last December, the so-called European Green Deal would have Europe invest €1 trillion towards the sustainable economy over the coming decade.

Represented by SolarPower Europe, the industry has been largely appreciative of the EU’s green finance push, as well as its efforts to foster an installation boom by forcing countries to set and deliver on renewable targets for 2030.

The sector has also worked behind the scenes to support a roadmap likely to touch on renewables more directly. Presented in early March 2020, the new industrial strategy will try and fuel green growth by creating an Alliance of Low-Carbon Industries, a European Innovation Council and others.

The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in Europe will take centre stage at Large Scale Solar Europe 2020 (Lisbon, on 30 June-1 July 2020).

This publication has also set up a tracker to map out how the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting solar supply chains worldwide. You can read the latest updates here.

If you have a COVID-19 statement to share or a story on how the pandemic is disrupting a solar business anywhere in the world, do get in touch at [email protected] or [email protected].

11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will 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 out to 2030 and beyond.

Read Next

June 20, 2024
The smarter E Award has five categories in total, including photovoltaics, energy storage, e-mobility, smart integrated energy and outstanding projects.
Sponsored
June 20, 2024
At SNEC 2024, PV Tech spoke with Dennis Shi, president of Sunman Energy, about his views on markets offering great potential and financing.
Sponsored
June 19, 2024
PV Tech speaks with the Ellen Wang, VP of global sales at Runergy, about the company's market position and work in the European solar sector.
June 19, 2024
A leading German solar distributor has predicted “crazy” ongoing pricing pressures in Europe as the PV industry continues to face huge product oversupply and competition prompted by the easing of the recent energy crisis in Europe.
June 19, 2024
Global Solar Council offers policy recommendations to increase the installed solar capacity and address barriers slowing its deployment.
June 18, 2024
Soltec has published its financial results for the first quarter of 2024, which include revenues of €121 million (US$130 million).

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece
Solar Media Events
July 9, 2024
Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia