The heat is on, says EPIA executive, and not just because it's summer

In a recent newsletter editorial, Reinhold Buttgereit, Secretary General of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) gave some headline figures showing how the solar industry is increasingly contributing to the global energy mix.
The heat is on, says EPIA executive, and not just because it

“Summer is finally upon us and as the temperatures rise so does the pressure on the PV industry to show that it can weather tough economic times and continue the remarkable progress it has made in recent years toward becoming a mainstream energy source,” said Buttgereit in his editorial to a recent EPAI newsletter. “The headlines in much of the media about markets, industry consolidation and trade disputes may not be encouraging, but there are facts behind them that often get overlooked amidst all the heated rhetoric.”

However, Buttgereit was keen to point out that renewables – and especially solar PV – continue to gain strength and show promise as major part of the world’s energy future. A new report from the United Nations Environment Programme and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, for instance, shows that investment in renewable energy sources surged by 17% in 2011 to reach $257 billion; solar was the top attraction, with total investment in solar power jumping 52% to $147 billion

He went on to mention that solar PV is already a major provider of European electricity. PV can already produce more than 4% of the peak electricity demand in Europe; in Italy, PV can produce more than 10% of the peak electricity demand, in Germany more than 8%, in Spain more than 5%

“Solar PV works where it is needed, not just in sunny southern locations,” Buttgereit said. “On the weekend of 25-27 May, solar electricity production in Germany peaked at 22 GW, more than the output of 20 nuclear plants.”

The EPAI Secretary General also stressed that Europeans “overwhelmingly support solar power as an energy solution”. In a recent Eurobarometer survey, 94% of respondents said they support using solar power in their country.

“So while the headlines have focused on uncertainty in the renewables sector and in the larger economic context, we should remember to keep promoting the promise of renewables and of solar PV. More than ever, we need to highlight the importance it will play in achieving economic and environmental goals,” he said. “At EPIA we are working harder than ever – and even during the summer holidays! – to make that message clear to policymakers and the general public. We will continue to fight for policies that encourage sustainable market growth, promotion of renewable energy sources as a benefit to Europe’s economic future, and free and fair competition on a level playing field.”

After what will be a long, hot summer for some, and a rainer, duller summer for others, EPIA will be playing host to the 9th European PV Industry Summit and Investors Day on 25 and 26 September, respectively, at the 27th EU PVSEC in Frankfurt (Germany).

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