EU electric vehicles plan could lift solar sector

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The directive seeks to encourage the installation of a range of alternative fuel infrastructure to drive cars, heavy goods vehicles and ships in the EU, with electric vehicles figuring prominently in the plan.

Plans for EU member states to leverage the estimated €8 billion (US$10.8 bn) needed for alternative fuel infrastructure – including electric car charging points – to be installed across the continent, would prove welcome news for Euro solar companies.

The EU plan proposes binding member states to install a minimum number of electric charging points – as well as infrastructure for alternative fuels such as biodiesel, hydrogen and liquefied natural gas – by 2020, to encourage drivers to opt for alternative fuel vehicles, thereby bringing down the price of such cars.

For instance, under the scheme, Germany would have to install 1.5 million electric charging points by 2020, up from its current 1,937, with the EU suggesting the cost of such development could be met by private investment.

In addition to raising demand for solar electricity, the EU plan would also ease the integration of renewables-generated electricity into grids across the continent.

The strategy also proposes installing electric charging points for shipping in locations where it would be cost effective and bring an environmental benefit.