‘Exciting but scary times’ – EU PVSEC gets under way in Brussels

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The opening session of the 2018 European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC) – held this year in Brussels – began with a presentation from Conference Chair, Pierre Verlinden, who described the PV industry’s current outlook as “exciting but scary times”.

Verlinden noted global solar installations are expected to surpass 0.5 TW by the end of the year, and to double to 1 TW by the end of 2022; highlighted renewables represented 70% of new electricity generation capacity installed last year; and pointed out PV represented 39% of this new capacity.

Looking ahead, Verlinden made bold predictions we will see products with efficiencies above 30% by 2022, that the PV industry will grow to a production capacity of 1 TW per year by 2028, and that prices will fall below $0.10/W by 2035.

“One hundred per cent renewables is the only option,” said the speaker, “This energy revolution cannot be stopped.”

The session continued with a presentation from Dominique Ristori, DG of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, who said the Commission is working at full speed and looking to achieve full mobilization of European companies in implementing the transition to renewable energy.

European ambition

Florent Marcellesi, an MEP representing Spain’s Green Party, called for more ambitious policies to support renewables in Europe, noting installations on the continent have slowed significantly compared with five years ago, and that new market designs would be needed for solar and other renewables to grow.

That view was supported by James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe, who stated that while showing ambition by raising the EU target to 32% of energy from renewables by 2030, a new market design package will be crucial. Watson said he expects significant growth to return to European solar, given the recent decision to end trade barriers to cells and modules produced in China.

“Solar is rapidly becoming the cheapest source of energy in the world,” Watson told the audience, adding he expects to see installations in Europe reach the double-digit gigawatt range from this year onwards.