SEPTEMBER EDITION EDITORIAL by Roch DROZDOWSKI-STREHL, IPVF CEO
Early September 2020, the European Commission has confirmed its ambition to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030, and to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Achieving this requires accelerated energy efficiency measures, deeper electrification, and faster deployment of low-carbon power generation. According to the Commission long-term strategy (LTS) for energy and climate, electricity generation in 2050 is much higher than in 2015 (between +30% and +150%), in particular due to the electrification of transport (battery electric vehicles) and to the production of hydrogen and e-fuels (which starts with water electrolysis).
The March 2020 study issued by the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) looks specifically at the role of PV, based on scenarios from the LTS. According to the JRC study, reaching a 55% GHG emissions reduction, requires the cumulative PV capacity in the EU and the UK to surge to 455-605 GW, depending on the policy scenario. This implies an annual growth rate of 12 to 15% in the 2020-2030 timeframe, to increase the EU annual PV market from approximately 16.5 GW in 2019 to 50-80 GW by 2030.
Beyond traditional solar PV, for many players today, equipping their products with the ability to turn light into energy is a strong customer expectation, a way to improve value proposition, and to take part fully in the energy transition. Photovoltaics can be found in numerous applications ranging from connected devices to solar power plants, through BIPV (photovoltaics integrated into building materials), VIPV (photovoltaics integrated into vehicles), Agrivoltaics (combination of the agricultural use of land with the production of electric energy by photovoltaics) or floating PV.
Should EU-based manufacturing take-off, such a dynamic market provides the basis for creating more than 100’000 jobs along the value chain. Besides, from a regional security of supply viewpoint, linking manufacturing schemes to this projected massive increase of installations would bring balance to the worldwide production capacity, ensure supply, and avoid disruptions.
Unleashing such a dynamic market full potential, from both environmental and economic viewpoints, requires fitted policy, financing framework and the scale up of research & innovation. As one of the most recent deep tech research platforms, IPVF is fully committed to pave the way for the strategic take-off of the solar industry in Europe. So, what is the job to do?
First, furthering our efforts to develop operational excellence at IPVF: safety, before all else, and with the continuous vigilance of the Operations teams, extended support to the researchers so you can get the best of our 100+ research assets. This is the cornerstone to any of our endeavour’s success.
Second, expanding our Collaborative Research Programs that are led by international experts in their field, and geared towards value creation for the industry. Our ability to organize collaboration efficiently, track its performance, deliver differentiating results is crucial to attract a growing number of industrial partners.
Third, protecting our intellectual property, communicating on our achievements, and valorising the capabilities of our world-class research community in France, Europe and beyond. In September 2020, we are reaching major milestones on that front as we doubled the number of Invention Disclosure Reports compared to previous years. We are also announcing the Solar Industry Day digital event which, under the High Patronage of President Macron, will be taking place on November 19, 2020. This key moment is designed to strengthen the R&D – Industry, Public – Private, France – Europe collaborations.
Finally, on September 23, 2020, I’ve had the honour to be elected Vice Chairman of the European Technology & Innovation Platform for Photovoltaic (ETIP PV): this will help us contribute at EU level, and structure R&D value creation for the industry. I am very enthusiastic to join the ETIP PV leadership team and accompany the solar PV strategic value chain in its future expected growth.
As a community, in these challenging times of sanitary crisis, we are facing a unique opportunity to expand sustainable and job-intensive activities in the areas of low-emission technologies, thus compensating for the reductions in employment in the fossil fuel sector and in carbon-intensive processes. Let’s keep the eye on the ball to get things done and delivered.
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