Solar industry leaders meet with UNEP reps to discuss solar’s role in climate protection

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At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland recently, major players in the solar industry gathered to meet with representatives from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to discuss the role of solar energy in the ongoing fight against climate change. Suntech’s Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Solarcentury’s Jeremy Leggett and Mike Ahearn of First Solar met with UNEP’s Executive Director Achim Steiner to propose the speeding up of policies implementation to encourage uptake of solar energy as a major player in greenhouse gas reduction.

As representatives of the global solar industry, the four attendees of the UN Conference outlined the benefits of furthering the adoption of solar energy globally, such as its low cost (relative to other methods of energy generation), and presented a number of policies that can be adhered to by companies thinking of switching over to incorporating solar energy as part of their daily operations. The policies included:

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  • Stringent, ambitious, international and national carbon regulation

       policies;

  • Enforceable renewables mandates with a solar carve out or credit

       multiplier for solar energy;

  • Near-term incentives that could include feed-in tariffs, partial

       rebates, tax credits and/or property-based loans;

  • Favorable net metering, interconnection, permitting and land-use

       policies

Those attending the UNFCC are expected to agree on a plan of action for the final year of negotiations about the commitments, which will then be undertaken in the Copenhagen agreement in 2009.

The representatives made the following statement: “Solar technology is no longer a niche energy solution, but is already reaching the scale and cost points to fundamentally change the way we generate electricity. As a result of substantial investments over the past five years, the solar industry has dramatically improved solar technologies and established roadmaps for further cost reductions. In fact, electricity generated from solar installations is already reaching parity with peak energy and retail energy prices in many regions.

“Now is the time for world leaders, businesses and communities to build the platform for solar to be adopted on a much greater scale. This will not only improve energy autonomy, but also serve to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and deliver an economically viable solution to climate change. We believe that the global climate change deal agreed to in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 should include concrete targets and policies for a rapid transition to solar in the coming decades.”

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