After difficult pandemic years, enduring cost of living and energy price hikes, and the ongoing, unprovoked, Russian war on Ukraine, Midsummer gives us a small moment to reflect on, and hope for, brighter times ahead.
FREMONT, CA: solar energy is the kingpin of its plan to transition away from Russian gas. The decentralised and domestic production feature of solar energy generation is more tempting than ever given the current geopolitical environment. The strategic resiliency of solar electricity is shown by accounts of the Ukrainian resistance, where solar PV keeps the lights on in houses and clinics. The European Union has drastically upped its aim for renewable energy as a result of the invasion of Ukraine and the realisation that Europe must transition away from Russian fossil fuels. Alongside the Solar Strategy, the European Commission has publicly recommended a minimum 45 per cent renewables target for 2030, supported by IPCC experts and 10 other industry organisations. The 45 per cent goal now needs to survive the European Parliament, where important MEPs are asking for even higher targets, and the Council of the EU, where Czechia will shortly hold the six-month Presidency. The minimum 45 per cent aim has a decent chance of sticking around given this environment and the geopolitical urgency. According to modelling, Europe would enter its solar Terawatt Age by the end of the decade with a least 45 per cent aim. Solar might replace up to 117 bcm of Russian gas between the 750 GWdc solar aim and the Terawatt reality that could be attained by 2030.
The EU Solar Rooftop Initiative establishes a ground-breaking requirement for solar rooftops on all public and commercial buildings by 2027, marking an enormous milestone for solar development and decarbonization and a long-sought success for SolarPower Europe. According to conservative estimates, about a quarter of the electricity used in the EU might be generated on rooftops. Two-thirds of Europe's rooftops are made up of commercial and industrial buildings, thus if to fully utilise rooftop potential, consider including an industrial solar rooftop mandate. Importantly, in 2029, the rooftop obligation will also apply to new residential construction, giving Europeans greater control over their homes' energy use. The EU Solar Strategy introduces an EU Solar PV Industry Alliance to revive domestic manufacturing. A diverse and global supply chain that has a strong European manufacturing base is the best way to sustain solar sovereignty. Details will be released soon, but the Industry Alliance supports our European Solar Initiative's minimum target of 20 GW of manufacturing capacity by 2025 and plans to build on it. To encourage new, more effective, and sustainable technologies, including close R&D ties to the Horizon Europe programme, the Alliance will bring together stakeholders along the value chain. A new EU-level system to coordinate funding for domestic solar manufacturing is expected to include InvestEU, the Innovation Fund, and Cohesion policy resources.
The European Commission has proposed a Skills Partnership for onshore energy, including solar, as part of the EU Pact for Skills, in addition to rooftop and manufacturing targets. By 2030, as many as 1.1 million EU solar employment were predicted by our estimate from 2021, but the solar sector has already noted access issues with the specialised labour required to expand solar deployment. The Skills Partnership will strive to tackle this supply/demand imbalance by co-ordinating training and industry stakeholders, while also finding EU funding streams to support local re- and up-skilling programmes, such as the European Social Fund.