- EU has announced a target to bring online 600 GW AC solar PV capacity by 2030 for the bloc under REPowerEU
- It will make rooftop solar mandatory for all residential buildings by 2029 and make all buildings solar ready
- Announces EU Solar PV Industry Alliance as the coordinating agency for various stakeholders in the solar manufacturing chain
To reduce its reliance on Russian fossil fuels the European Union (EU) will target to bring online more than 320 GW AC solar PV capacity by 2025, scaling it up to 600 GW AC by 2030 under its REPowerEU Plan, enough to displace consumption of 9 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas annually by 2027.
It would be an increase from 136 GW of installed solar PV generation capacity the region reached by the end of 2020 when it accounted for around 5% of total EU electricity generation. To achieve the targets as laid down in EU Solar Energy Strategy, EU will need to install an average of around 45 GW solar PV capacity annually.
Revealing its much awaited and much speculated REPowerEU Plan, the European Commission (EC) has increased its ambition for renewables under Fit for 55 (FF55) package to 45% by 2030, up from 40% targeted earlier.
Converting the AC capacity to DC, under FF55 the bloc was targeting 420 GW AC/525 GW DC solar installations by 2030. Now under REPowerEU, it has been raised to around 600 GW AC/750 GW DC, representing an increase of 43%.
Realizing the significance of rooftop solar in decentralizing energy transition, the commission has decided to make it mandatory for all new public and commercial buildings with useful floor area larger than 250 m2 by 2026, for all existing public and commercial buildings with useful floor area larger than 250 m2 by 2027, and all new residential buildings by 2029.
Factoring in the call for reducing lengthy and bureaucratic permitting processes for renewables, under REPowerEU the EU will ensure adopt provisions to ensure all buildings are ‘solar ready’ and limit the length of permitting for rooftop solar installations, including large ones to a maximum of 3 months.
The Commission has recommended establishing dedicated ‘go-to-areas’ for renewables to be put in place by member states with ‘shortened and simplified permitting processes’ (see EU Planning Faster Permits For RE Projects). The commission said it is making available datasets on environmentally sensitive areas as part of its digital mapping tool.
The Commission wants member states to integrate incentives for agrivoltaic projects while designing their CAP National Strategic Plans.
REPowerEU reiterates the target of 10 million tons of domestic renewable hydrogen production and 10 million tons of imports by 2030, to replace natural gas, coal, and oil in hard-to-decarbonize industries and transport sectors which will promote additional renewable energy capacities of 80 GW by 2030.
As for solar manufacturing, the Commission counts 14 projects covering ingots, wafers, cells and modules in the value chain, adding up to 20 GW of solar PV capacity, but some of these haven’t yet secured financing.
To encourage this segment, the Commission has announced EU Solar PV Industry Alliance with a view to bring together various stakeholders, identify and coordinate investment opportunities, project pipelines while establishing pathways for solar industrial ecosystem in Europe.
Details of the EU Solar Energy Strategy can be found on the European Commission’s website.
SPE welcomed REPowerEU calling the solar strategy ‘landmark’. “Along with a 45% renewable target, solar and wind are more empowered than ever to shield citizens from high energy prices. The European solar sector is ready to scale up and deliver on the ambition set out today,” said SPE CEO Walburga Hemetsberger.