EPIA rebrands as SolarPower Europe

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) has today agreed on a complete rebrand and will henceforth be known as SolarPower Europe following a 100% member vote in favor of the name-change.

Following 30 years in the industry as EPIA, SolarPower Europe’s new moniker is intended to reflect the growth and expansion of the scope of the organization, according to CEO James Watson.

"This is a true endorsement of a new era in the rapid evolution of solar power in Europe," Watson said. "SolarPower Europe reflects three clear aspects of who we are today: Solar – we cover the whole solar value chain through our members; Power – electricity is our business; Europe – our geographical home."

The new brand will be launched officially at next month’s Intersolar Europe exhibition, held in Munich, Germany, between June 10-12. "We encourage all stakeholders to come and meet SolarPower Europe – The New EPIA at Intersolar," Watson added.

SolarPower Europe president Oliver Schäfer remarked that he is delighted that the association has taken positive steps to develop a future-oriented brand. "We will build on the achievements of EPIA, fully recognizing how much success we have had in the past," he said.

"But now is the time to take the association forward and to reflect that we now have members all along the solar value chain and are fully inclusive of all segments of Europe."

In recent months, EPIA had become even more deeply embroiled in the trade dispute between the EU and China, and had been at loggerheads with SolarWorld-backed lobby group EU Prosun, which had successfully pressured the European Commission to introduce minimum import prices (MIP) on solar products from China.

EPIA recently became a member of the SETI Alliance, which campaigns to remove trade barriers for environmental goods, working closely with the WTO Environmental Goods Agreement.

As Europe’s manufacturing industry has declined in recent years, so too had EPIA’s member numbers. The rebranded SolarPower Europe still represents more than 100 European companies, but has faced claims that it no longer speaks for the entire European solar industry.

In speaking to pv magazine a few weeks ago, EU Prosun president Milan Nitzschke remarked, in response to the rumored name change to SolarPower Europe: “That completely eliminates the troublesome ‘I’ for industry from the name."

Schäfer retorted that cell and module production is only part of the PV value chain in Europe, telling pv magazine: "Another part of value creation lies somewhere else entirely – in project planning, the O&M business, and financing. These are the areas where Europe is in the lead."