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COP-16: EPIA calls for support for solar PV

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) has presented evidence in support of an accelerated deployment of photovoltaic (PV) solar electricity across the globe to bring clean energy to both the developed and developing world at COP-16 in Cancun.

According to EPIA’s paradigm shift scenario, by 2020, solar PV could contribute as much as 12% of the electricity demand in Europe alone; reaching 390 GW of installed capacity and saving 220 Mt of CO2 per year. This is the equivalent to eliminating the carbon emissions from Thailand or taking 98 million cars off the road each year, EPIA says.

“Not only is the sun an unlimited source of energy, PV electricity is available in large and small scale, in-grid and off-grid, which makes it perfect to reach all four corners of the world,” says Eleni Despotou, EPIA’s Secretary General.

“Just as cell phones can bring the advantages of 21st century connectivity to regions which lack a traditional telecommunications infrastructure, PV is uniquely capable of becoming a catalyst for sustainable development by providing basic services such as lighting, drinking water, healthcare or education, which are crucial to meet the Millennium Development Goals”.

Solar PV capacity in the Sunbelt region could range from 60 to 250 GW by 2020, and from 260 to 1100 GW by 2030, which according to EPIA’s report Unlocking the Sunbelt Potential of Photovoltaics would represent 27-58% of the forecasted global installed solar PV capacity by then.

“The Sunbelt represents now about 75% of the world population and 40% of the global electricity demand but our analysis shows that about 80% of the growth of the world electricity demand in the coming 20 years will originate from this region. COP-16 negotiators must acknowledge the massive potential of PV in these countries, which remains largely untapped, and guarantee that the right policies and incentives are put in place to bring them clean and renewable energy,” Despotou adds.

Based on EPIA’s analysis, prices of solar PV systems in the Sunbelt are expected to decrease by up to 66% by 2030 compared to their current levels.

Solar PV electricity, already competitive today with some peak generation technologies in a number of countries, would see its generation costs dropping to a range of €0.06-0.12/kWh by 2020 and as low as €0.040.08/kWh by 2030 becoming a highly competitive alternative for new generation capacity as well as a replacement for existing ones.

“COP-15 did not deliver the promised legally binding international treaty and Cancun might not deliver it either but should prepare the terrain to close a deal before the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. A clear shift by decision-makers to support measures that stimulate deployment of photovoltaic energy is crucial to provide a strong drive for a sustainable transformation of the world’s economy,” says EPIA’s Secretary General.

“Policy-makers need to ensure that the green industrial revolution happening in the energy sector will accelerate in the coming decade”.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity