EU to exploit benefits of solar energy

Dec 05, 2003 01:00 AM

A new advisory council on photovoltaics has met for the first time after it was established by the Commission to remove obstacles standing in the way of the EU’s maximum exploitation of the benefits of solar energy.
The "Photovoltaics Technology Research Advisory Council", which was recently created by Energy and Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio and Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, met in Brussels for the first time on 4 December 2003.

Photovoltaics (PV) are a technology for the production of solar electricity, which can be used either directly or fed into an existing electricity grid. The aim of the new advisory council will be to develop a foresight report and a strategies research agenda to help maximise the potential of solar electricity.
Europe has experienced a 30 % growth in solar energy (mainly due to a strong promotion in Germany) and it now accounts for more than 24 % of global PV production. This is only topped by Japan (44 %), while the US is lagging behind with only a 22 % market share.

The Commission has been supporting research, development and demonstration projects in this area with over EUR 200 mm funding in the last decade. Nevertheless, the share of solar energy in today's EU energy mix is minimal, as PV are still very expensive compared to other forms of power production.
In the context of reaching the target of doubling the EU's share of renewable energy from 6 to 12 % by 2010 as set out in the White Paper on Renewable Energies, the Commission wants to increase the installed generating capacity of PV from 183.5 MW in 2000 to 3000 MW by 2010.

Official documents:
Commission Press Release: Solar energy: Europe aims to lead the world in Photovoltaic technologies
Commission, DG TREN: Photovoltaic Energy
Commission/EurObserv'ER: Photovoltaic Barometer 2003 [FR]
Commission, DG TREN: New and Renewable Energies -- Legislation
Commission: White Paper on Renewable Energies COM(97)599 [FR] [DE]

EU actors:
European Renewable Energy Council (EREC): Renewable Energy Sources -- Photovoltaics
European Photovoltaic Industry Association

Source: EurActiv
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