EU, Industry Players Ink Charter to Meet Solar Energy Targets – Rigzone News

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The European Commission and representatives of solar energy parts manufacturers have signed a charter to achieve resilience in the European Union solar value chain and help meet the bloc’s renewable energy targets.

A key part of the European Solar Charter, which was also signed by 23 of the 27 EU countries, is a commitment from the signatory governments and industry representatives to realizing the pending Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA). The proposed legislation, for which the European Council and Parliament reached a provisional deal February 6, aims to ensure that EU manufacturing capacity for net-zero technologies, including photovoltaics (PVs), nears or reaches 40 percent of annual deployment needs by 2030.

The signatories agreed to, per the official charter text, “create favorable framework conditions for manufacturing facilities of PV products and for additional investments, with a view to supporting the achievement of the manufacturing benchmark in the NZIA, including through rapid early implementation of relevant NZIA provisions on permitting and net-zero acceleration areas, improved availability of manufacturing skills and engagement across the value chain to improve the availability of recycled materials”.

They also agreed to promote “innovative forms of solar energy deployment, such as agri-PV, floating solar, infrastructure-integrated PV, vehicle-integrated PV or building-integrated PV, with a specific focus on innovative business models such as turnkey projects for PV integration in buildings, including through the removal of possible regulatory and permitting barriers as well as the adaptation of existing public support schemes or the creation of specific public support schemes”.

On funding needs, EU authorities should “consider using all available EU funding opportunities as well as flexibilities under the State aid Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework (TCTF) to provide support for new investments in the solar energy supply chain”, the charter states.

The TCTF allows EU nations to use the flexibility provided by the bloc’s state aid rules to cushion the economic impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war, including by providing aid in the energy sector.

The Commission, additionally, plans to provide support for PV manufacturing projects through existing funding programs including Horizon Europe, the Innovation Fund, the Modernization Fund and the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

The Charter also provides for cooperation with non-EU countries on the “resilience and diversification of supply chains via existing and future partnerships, dialogues and trade agreements and fora”.

Currently solar energy projects in the EU rely on China for components, “a concentration that creates short-term risks for the resilience of the value chain and long-term risks for price stability for solar panels due to dependencies on suppliers outside of Europe”, the charter says.

It notes solar is the fastest growing renewable energy source in the EU, where 56 gigawatts of solar PV were installed last year.

“The installations in 2022 and 2023 saved the equivalent of 15 billion cubic meters [529.7 billion cubic feet] of Russian gas imports in total, mitigating the risk of disruption of gas supplies to the Union”, the charter highlights.

“In addition, the sector provides around 650,000 jobs, 90 percent of these on the deployment side, and is projected to increase until around 1,000,000 by 2030.

“Achieving the 2030 EU target of at least 42.5 percent renewable energy by 2030, with an ambition to reach 45 percent, will require further acceleration in the deployment of renewable energy, including solar energy”.

Last October 9 the EU adopted the Renewable Energy Directive setting a binding target for the share of renewables in the bloc’s energy mix to be 42.5 percent by the end of this decade, up from 32 percent.

Toward the goal, “Member States shall set an indicative target for innovative renewable energy technology of at least 5 percent of newly installed renewable energy capacity by 2030”, the directive says.

EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said in a statement in support of the solar charter, “We must ensure the solar industry remains strong for Europe’s future, renewables-centered energy mix”.

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