PES talks exclusively to Adel El Gammal, Secretary General of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, to hear his views on PV market perspectives and challenges, and how can solar PV become a mainstream energy supplier in Europe by 2020.
PES: Welcome. It’s good to have the EPIA back in the magazine again, how has the association progressed over the past year?
Adel El Gammal: 2009 has been a milestone for EPIA and the PV Industry. In September 2008, on the occasion of the 1st EPIA CEO roundtable during the 24th EU PVSEC in Valencia, the industry unanimously decided to explore the future potential of PV and set ambitious targets. The SET For 2020 study (www.setfor2020.eu) was launched at the very end of 2008 and was carried out throughout June 2009. EPIA led this essential study, performed with the support of the strategic consulting firm A.T. Kearney and based on more than 100 interviews across Europe with the industry, research community, utilities, regulators and policy makers.
The study demonstrates that PV could supply up to 12 per cent of the EU electricity demand by 2020, should specific framework conditions be established. A fundamental repositioning of PV on the energy map, transforming it from a marginal niche player, today providing less than 1 per cent of the electricity demand, into a mainstream electricity source in tomorrow’s energy mix. A huge communication campaign was set up to launch this landmark study at EU level but also in key Member States including inter alia, Italy, Spain and France. More than 400 articles, with a focus on general and economic press, and over 30 briefings in national and international conferences, contributed to make SET For 2020 the new reference for the future of PV. The European Commission increasingly acknowledged the 12 per cent target as a high penetration scenario for PV that was ultimately adopted in its communication on the financing of Low Carbon technologies and the SET Plan.
PES: What role did your organisation play in the recent COP15 summit? Did you achieve your goals?
AEG: Despite a very disappointing outcome of the 15th Conference of the Parties and its inability to forge a consensus on legally binding emission reduction targets, this conference was the opportunity for the PV sector to formally appear for the first time in the global climate change debate.
With several press conferences, TV interviews and a side-event organised in partnership with the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) and the American Solar Industries Association (SEIA), EPIA was able to attract huge attention on the future of PV and its outstanding credentials for combating Global