2015 Campaign: 1 - 15 May
Europeans demand political focus on decentralised solar energy
- Friday, 11 May 2012
94% of Europeans favour using solar, according to Eurobarometer
Brussels, 11 May 2012– Leaders of the solar energy community representing citizens across Europe called on Brussels politicians to increase their support for solar energy. In video messages from France, Italy and Portugal, three of the 20 European countries participating in the European Solar Days campaign, national representatives urged policy makers to stimulate further the growth of solar energy across Europe and give citizens more choice over the energy they use. According to a recent Eurobarometer survey 94% of Europeans favour using solar energy, more than for any other energy source.
This message was heard by representatives of European politics, businesses and organisations at a high-level panel debate in the European Parliament on 10 May hosted by Amalia Sartori, a Member of the European Parliament and Chair of the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee. The panellists discussed the financial and social potential of solar energy for European citizens, the best policies to stimulate further growth in availability and usage of solar energy in Europe, and how solar energy can help in meeting the EU’s energy and climate objectives.
In an opening speech delivered on behalf of Ms. Sartori, the Vice-Chair of the ITRE Committee, Patrizia Toia said: “Today the economic crisis is at the top of everyone's mind, but this should not cause us to forget the pressing climate and energy challenges. Solar energy is important to help meeting the EU 2020 targets, and to overcome the crisis, creating jobs and innovation in Europe."
Ms. Toia concluded: "Renewables – in particular solar energy – will undoubtedly play an increasingly important role in the European energy mix. They become even more important in light of the Energy Roadmap 2050 and the European Renewable Energy Strategy. Given that on average more than 50% of the energy consumed in Europe is imported, solar energy will also contribute to the EU’s energy independence.”
The panel included Bruno Vanderschueren, Director General and Co-founder of Lampiris, the 100% green energy provider in Belgium; Pirita Lindholm, Member of the Covenant of Mayors Office and Head of Climate Alliance Brussels; Maud Skäringer, Policy Analyst-Policy Coordination, European Commission DG Regional Policy; Boris Klebensberger and Fabrice Didier, board members of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA); and Nigel Cotton and Arthur de Vries, board members of the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation. The group discussed the best ways to support consumers in adopting solar energy technologies.
"Solar energy has huge potential to reduce CO2 emissions and decrease energy costs for European households. We can't take our foot off the pedal now. We are on track to meet our energy targets for 2020 but we need to define new targets for 2030 to maintain the high level of motivation and the fast growth of solar energy",said Reinhold Buttgereit, EPIA Secretary General. Stressing the importance of investing in decentralised energy production to promote economic growth, Xavier Noyon, ESTIF Secretary General, added: “Decentralised energy sources such as solar thermal and solar photovoltaics have an important role to play in promoting investment at local level, i.e. commercialisation, installation and maintenance. It’s a great way to replace fossil fuel imports by local jobs.”
By the end of 2011, over 50 gigawatts of PV systems and 26 gigawatts (solar thermal energy) had been installed in Europe - enough to supply electricity to over 15 million households and provide domestic hot water to 12.5 million households with an average sized solar thermal system.
– ENDS –
For more information
Pedro Dias, ESTIF, Deputy Secretary General. Tel: +32 (0) 2 546 19 38.
Craig Winneker, EPIA, Media Relations. Tel: +32 (0)2 400 17 82
Note to editors:
European Solar Days - For a bright future
The European Solar Days were originally launched in 2002 in Austria with the "Day of the Sun". Positive feedback encouraged organisers to develop the event further into an annual pan-European campaign running over a couple of weeks.
The European Solar Days are intended to promote the use of solar energy in Europe through a wide range of events: fairs, hands-on exhibitions, presentations, races of solar-powered devices, conferences, debates etc. Over the past 10 years, the initiative has drawn an increasing number of supporters: in 2011 more than 8,000 events were held across 19 EU countries, attracting the participation of half a million citizens. Organisers included various organisations working in the solar equipment manufacturing industry as well as local authorities or educational institutions.
The 5th edition of this Europe-wide campaign is organised by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) together with the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) and a network of some 25 organisations including NGOs, businesses and local governments. The European Solar Days' project is supported by the Intelligent Energy Europe programme of the European Commission.
For more information on the European Solar Days, access the official campaign website: http://www.solardays.eu/
About the organisers (ESTIF and EPIA):
The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) is the voice of the solar thermal industry, actively promoting the use of solar thermal technology for renewable heating and cooling in Europe. With around 100 members from 19 European countries, ESTIF represents the entire supply chain: manufacturers, service providers and national associations, which together cover 95% of today's solar thermal market.
EPIA - the European Photovoltaic Industry Association - represents members active along the whole solar PV value chain: from silicon, cells and module production to systems development and PV electricity generation as well as marketing and sales. EPIA's mission is to give its global membership a distinct and effective voice in the European market, especially in the EU."