Global solar industry leaders to present accelerated solution to combat climate change

For the second year running, leaders in the global solar industry are joining forces to participate in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP16), the next installment of which will be held 29 November to 10 December, in Cancun, Mexico.

The coalition, comprised of more than 40 international solar and renewable energy organisations, will call for the accelerated deployment of solar energy to reduce harmful pollution, combat climate change and create jobs.

“The Sun offers us today a unique way of generating electricity on a global scale, making it possible to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with the added benefit of being socially responsible, generating jobs and supporting sustainable development locally,” said Adel El Gammal, Secretary General of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).

“Government representatives in Cancun should advocate for a clear shift away from conventional fuels to solar energy,” he continued. “This will allow developing nations to leapfrog past conventional energy dependency to a clean and unlimited source that can also easily reach under-served populations in rural areas.”

Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the US-based Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), seconded that statement, adding that, “Deploying solar energy presents a concrete measure for our nations’ leaders to reduce harmful pollution now”.

“With the right policies, our government leaders can accelerate the adoption of solar reducing CO2 emissions equivalent to taking 110 million cars off the road,” he said.

During the conference, the group will release “Seizing the Solar Solution: Combating Climate Change through Accelerated Deployment,” a report that shows combined world targets for solar electric capacity will reach 700 GW by 2020 and solar thermal capacity will reach 280 gigawatts (GWth, thermal equivalent) by 2020.

No limit to solar potential

Member organisations of the coalition have scheduled at least two press conferences during the gathering, on 6 and 7 December.

According the members, Solar energy, the fastest growing energy source in the world, has enormous potential to create jobs and provides a clean, competitive and sustainable solution to meet the rising energy demand of developed and developing countries.

They predict the US will become the world’s largest solar energy market in the next five years, growing by 10,000 MW annually. The coalition said this rate of growth would be enough to displace 10 coal plants per year and power 2 million households.

At present, they said, solar power-related projects employs 93,000 Americans in all 50 states.

“With the right policies in place, solar energy can support 440,000 jobs in five years and keep the U.S. on track to meet the pledges of the Copenhagen Accord,” the said in a written statement.

Coalition members also pointed out that photovoltaic energy has experienced massive growth across Europe in the last two decades.

However, they said, the full potential of this clean energy source remains untapped worldwide, especially in the developing nations that compose the Sunbelt region, located between parallels 35 North/South.

According to EPIA’s recent estimations, the PV potential of these countries could range from 260 to 1,100 GW by 2030, representing 27-58% of the forecasted global installed capacity.

Solar Petition

In preparation for the UN summit, the coalition has launched an online petition which it says hundreds of people from across the planet have already signed it.

After COP16, the Solar Petition will be sent to key political leaders in charge of making the decisions that will affect the future well-being of our world and the people who live in it.

Together with the petition and the list of supporters, they will receive a Solar Dancing Flower to remind them of the power of the Sun, the coalition said in a statement.

All the funds generated from the production of these solar flowers will be donated to Solar Solidarity, an NGO active in the promotion of projects for the developing world using renewable technology, solar in particular.

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