As the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) wins an award for its Your Sun Your Energy campaign, its Secretary General, Reinhold Buttgereit, poetically warns the industry must “catch its breath” and pace itself properly to finish the race strongly.
Your Sun Your Energy (YSYE), the European Photovoltaic Industry Association’s online campaign to promote awareness of the benefits of photovoltaic technology, has been honoured with a European Public Affairs award as the Digital Campaign of the Year 2011.
The online solar campaign which has featured in our publications was one of three online campaigns shortlisted for the award, and ended up winning more than 60% of the votes cast in an online election that took place from 13-26 October. The award was announced at a ceremony in Brussels on 9 November.
The YSYE campaign was recognised by the European Public Affairs Awards for its display of innovation and professionalism in implementation, demonstrating success or forward movement against objectives. Launched in 2010, this campaign targets everyone from EU policy makers to businesses, NGOs and consumers. It builds grassroots support for PV, thus helping to develop markets and achieve Europe’s energy and environmental goals.
“The innovation shown in the development of the website is multi-faceted, with an expansive media corner, quarterly themes and future plans for further video integration, an educational corner and a regular newsletter,” explains EPIA. “The website dynamically demonstrates how photovoltaics can brighten everyone’s daily life by helping Europe reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and strengthen energy security with clean, affordable energy.”
Catching its breath
Meanwhile, Reinhold Buttgereit, EPIA’s Secretary General, recently wrote about how the PV industry must pace itself in order to finish strongly, making an analogy his experience of running a marathon.
“As a distance runner (I just survived my first New York City marathon) I know the value of looking at a race from a long-term perspective. You have to be able to pace yourself properly in order to finish strongly. The same might be said of the PV industry, which has grown at a rapidly accelerating pace in recent years and now finds itself having to catch its breath,” he said.
Buttgereit said the PV industry is weathering a period of consolidation and market maturation, and the question of how to survive over the long term looms large. “To be sure, the industry is entering a new phase in which innovation, cost-containment and cultivation of new markets will be more crucial than ever. But it is important to remember that even in this uncertain climate the market is growing and the business and financial communities still clearly see PV as a solid bet for the future,” he commented.
The years 2009 and 2010 were unusually strong for the PV market – outperforming even the remarkable growth trend of the last two decades. In 2011, even in a period of market turbulence and economic crisis we will still see growth in the PV market globally, said Buttgereit.
And as EPIA’s new study “Solar Photovoltaics Competing in the Energy Sector” shows, the continued reduction in the cost of generating PV electricity means that solar will be competitive across Europe within the next few years, before 2020.
“EPIA is ready for the challenges of the coming year. As we prepare our Action Plan for 2012 we are focusing our messages to make the most effective case to policymakers about the importance of promoting sustainable PV markets and removing barriers to the industry’s growth. PV has come very far in a very short time and the finish line may be a long way off. But we need to remember that the race to PV competitiveness is a one that will reward mid- and long-term endurance over short-term speed,” he concluded.