The European Commission is taking its “mission to become independent from Russian fossil fuels as quickly as possible” to “another level,” EC President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference for the REPowerEU plan.
The commission is proposing a solar rooftop requirement for commercial and public buildings from 2027, and for new residential buildings from 2029. “I know this is ambitious, but it is realistic, we can do it,” said von der Leyen, noting that investment in renewables is the bloc’s “biggest task.”
The commission also said that it is increasing its renewable energy target for 2030 from 40% to 45%. Faster permits for renewables will play a key role in achieving the higher target, she said. It also wants member states to set “renewables go-to-areas” for swift permitting. “There the permitting process is down to one year,” a substantial improvement on the current average of six to nine years, said von der Leyen.
The strategy also sets a 592 GWac (740 GWdc) target for solar in the European Union by 2030. “This target is higher than SolarPower Europe Global Market Outlook business-as-usual projections of 672 GWdc by the end of the decade,” trade body SolarPower Europe said in a statement released.
Applications for renewable energy systems in go-to areas would be entitled to decisions within 14 days, according to a leaked document that pv magazine has seen. Repowered sites in such areas would need to be permitted within six to nine months. The same would apply to systems with generation capacities of less than 150 kW. Other proposals announced include an increase of the EU energy efficiency target for 2030, from 9% to 13%.
“Today the European Commission recognises the immense potential of rooftop solar – as well as the need for a solar workforce to roll out both rooftop and utility solar across Europe,” said Dries Acke, policy director at SolarPower Europe. “We foresee up to 1.1 million solar jobs in Europe by 2030, and the EU Solar Skills Partnership will help deliver the workers on the ground.”
*The article was updated on May 18 to note that the solar mandate for commercial and public buildings was set for 2027 and not 2025. Our previous coverage was based on statements and figures released by Ursula von der Leyen during the press conference.
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