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A strong industrial policy is crucial for Europe’s PV industry future

Last Updated: 2013-11-15 15:53:08Views: 1278Size:T|T
To maintain and develop a strong PV-industry base in the long run, Europe needs a strong industrial policy that stimulates research & development (R&D) and eases access to financing. 

With more than 31 GW of new solar PV capacity installed worldwide in 2012, 55% of which in Europe, the old continent is still a leader in the development of PV. Nevertheless, the results from 2012 also signal for turning point that will have profound implications in the coming years. 
Reinforced by the adoption in 2009 of the Energy & Climate Package that introduced legally binding targets for renewables by 2020, Europe has established itself as world leader in developing renewable energy markets and technologies. Thus, it has become clear that introducing a legally binding target for renewables can give the required incentive to maintain the continent’s leadership. Nonetheless, current difficult economic times are challenging public authorities’ commitment to supporting the renewable energy industry, and PV is not an exception. 

But the economic context in Europe, challenging as it may be, should only be seen as an additional reason to support renewables without delay. Indeed, renewable energies in general and PV technology in particular can lead the transition to a sustainable economy that would boost economic growth and create new jobs in Europe while securing environmental protection. This is an opportunity that should not be missed. 

To enable renewables and PV fully deliver their benefits to European societies, the EU must develop a real industrial policy that nurtures R&D efforts and improves access to financing for our technologies. This is of crucial importance if Europe is to maintain its position in the global PV value chain and deployment. 

With regard to this, Europe needs a regulatory framework that includes strong and ambitious binding targets for renewables by 2030 in order to stimulate the demand and give investors the visibility and stability they need. Such a framework would reduce the current costs of uncertainty, mobilise the needed funding, help to protect the environment, decrease the costs of decarbonisation, facilitate the creation of new jobs, and further enhance the EU’s technology leadership. 

This is a clear and strong message that was sent ahead of EU discussions to all Ministers for Energy, as well as to the Commissioner for Energy and the Commissioner for Climate Action, in a letter signed by EPIA and a group of 66 other European companies and associations.

EPIA will continue raising its voice in favour of a new climate and energy framework for 2030 that would be based on mutually reinforcing tools and targets, including a legally binding target for renewable energy. It is vital that all policymakers support a strong and ambitious regulatory framework for the years to come.