SolarPower Europe and EIT InnoEnergy launched on February 23 the European Solar Initiative (ESI), with the support of EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, and French Minister Delegate for Industry Agnès Pannier-Runacher.
According to SolarPower Europe, the ESI will accelerate Europe’s climate agenda and economic recovery, contributing to the delivery of the European Green Deal objectives. The ESI aims to scale up a strong PV manufacturing industry in Europe across the entire value chain from raw materials to recycling, which will capture the additional 20 GW of annual solar demand forecasted in Europe for the next decade. This will generate €40bn of GDP annually and create 400,000 new direct and indirect jobs across the PV value chain.
EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson noted that the future of the European energy system is renewable and solar energy has an important role to play in that. “To quickly scale up green energy, we need the insights and cooperation of the industry. I am therefore very happy to see the launch of the European Solar Initiative, which I’m confident will give a boost to the entire solar PV value chain in Europe,” Simson said.
“As the lowest-cost and most job-intensive renewable technology, solar is poised to deliver the goals of the European Green Deal and Green Recovery,” SolarPower Europe CEO Walburga Hemetsberger said, adding that the momentum is building to scale up manufacturing activities in the EU, based on the sustained technological leadership of European companies and strong domestic market uptake confirmed in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. “Following the successful launch of the Solar Manufacturing Accelerator in May 2020, today we are delighted to further boost the solar industry, with EIT InnoEnergy, by launching the European Solar Initiative,” she said.
For his part, EIT InnoEnergy CEO Diego Pavia reminded that enabling strategic value chains which accelerate the energy transition is at the core of EIT InnoEnergy’s mission. “This ESI for the PV industry would be our third, after batteries (EBA) and hydrogen (EGHAC),” he said, adding that the mix of National Energy and Climate plan demand, low cost of capital, notable successes in European technology development and a return of investment into the sector has created fertile ground for a rebirth of European PV. “Europe has learnt from its previous experiences and with the Green Deal’s powerful, unambiguous political and business framework in place, scale and speed are going to be the key to unlocking PV’s potential,” he said.
The ESI combines the thriving ecosystem of solar PV players created over the years by SolarPower Europe and the successful blueprint of the European Battery Alliance, led by EIT InnoEnergy, with its Business Investment Platform (BIP).