Last week, IDTechEx technology analyst Harry Zervos attended the 23rd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, in the Feria Valencia, in Spain.
The event attracted over 700 exhibiting companies and was accompanied by a series of conference sessions covering all aspects of the photovoltaic industry.
Opening statements from the research director of the CNRS IRDEP in France focused on the necessity for using photovoltaics as a major energy supply, as soon as possible in order to avoid dependency on increasingly expensive fossil fuels. He quoted predictions for grid parity from the EPIA, according to which it would be achieved by 2020.
The president of the EPIA Ernesto Macias pointed out that it is necessary to keep on promoting the feed in tariff system in Europe but with the obligation to reach grid parity as soon as possible in order to facilitate the development of technology without subsidies.
Javier Anta, the president of ASIF, the Spanish solar industry association, focused on the current situation in the country, with the government trying to adjust the rapid growth rates but also, the necessity to find solutions that would not lead to the "debacle" of the solar industry in the country, urging for the improvement of the current governmental draft.
This appeal was also backed by Hans-Josef Fell, Member of the German Parliament and Vice-President of EUROSOLAR who added that the challenge for Spain is to ensure that in the coming years reliable legal conditions are finally created for investors. Mr Fell also said: "Only a total changeover to renewables coupled with energy saving will lead us out of the global crisis which threatens our very existence. We need worldwide feed-in laws and an end, finally, to the huge subsidies for fossil and nuclear energies."
It is necessary to keep on promoting the feed in tariff system in Europe but with the obligation to reach grid parity as soon as possible in order to facilitate the development of our technology without subsidies.
Giovanni De Santi, Director of the Institute for Energy, at the European commission's JRC commented on the timely organization of the conference and expo as the European Commission has recently taken two decisive steps on the role that renewable energies will play in securing European energy supply, whilst combating Climate Change:
- The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan): an ambitious and target-driven European Energy Technology Policy aiming towards a low carbon future. Within this Commission initiative, the demonstration of the commercial readiness of large-scale Photovoltaic and Concentrated Power systems is an essential contribution.
- It is also due to the enormous growth of PV that the European Energy Policy target to increase the share of renewables to 20% by the year 2020 is within reach. The European Directive also aims at removing barriers which still hamper the growth of renewable energy, for instance by encouraging removal or simplification of the administrative procedures for new renewable energy supply.
In tomorrow's 2nd part of the article, the focus will move to more technical issues that were raised and discussed during the event.