National solar associations gather in Brussels for strategy day

On 18 April, the representatives from national solar associations spanning across Europe gathered in Brussels for an annual strategy day.

Building upon the momentum set by the Annual General Meeting, where elections were held to appoint 10 new Directors to join the Board of SolarPower Europe, the strategy day was marked by vibrant discussions covering a diverse array of topics.


Commencing with an insightful discussion exploring the upcoming EU elections️, participants delved into the main challenges foreseen and solutions to overcome them. The session also included an overview of the EU-wide #UseYourVote campaign, underscoring the collective endeavor to amplify awareness and engagement around the European elections on 6-9 June 2024.


A significant highlight was the deliberation on the EU’s ambitious Green Deal Industry Plan, unveiled in January 2023, which aims to reshore at least 30 GW of European solar manufacturing across the value chain by 2030. Resilience emerged as a key criterion in public procurement and renewable energy auctions. The session provided insights into resilience policies within Member States, while outlining avenues for supporting solar manufacturing and harnessing EU funding opportunities. During the breakout session, there was a unanimous call for accelerated implementation of the Net Zero Industry Act to support solar manufacturing.


The meeting also discussed the difficulties related to providing incentives for flexibility within current rooftop solar programmes. To enhance the shift from net-metering and feed-in tariffs, storage, electrification, and flexibility price signals are essential. These measures help ensure competitiveness of rooftop solar, especially amid increasing price cannibalisation during peak generation hours. They also ensure the sustainable development of rooftop solar in areas with scarce grid connection capacity.


Additional sessions navigated the complexities of grid connection queues, offering insights into solutions to expedite projects to be connected across Europe. From the countries participating in the discussion, it was evident that utilising grid capacity hosting maps, containing valuable information such as projects in queues to connect and grid reinforcement plans, and digitalising the grid connection process would serve as valuable tools for monitoring these queues. Regarding selection criteria, although no definite list has been identified in these countries, discussions are in progress in Italy and in Portugal, where auctions are considered as a solution to prioritise projects for grid connection. Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the focus lies on flexible grid connections.


The agenda also featured a discussion on the upcoming European Solar Day, underscoring collaborative efforts to celebrate the power of solar energy and foster collective action on the 21st of June.


To end the day, we held a session on hybrid solar PV systems diving into the EU regulatory frameworks to identify avenues for optimising policies and practices both at economic and technical levels, unlocking the great potential of mixing solar with energy storage or other renewable sources. The discussion made clear that both the economic and technical pillars remain complex in several countries, lacking incentives for project hybridisation.


The gathering served as a pivotal moment to strengthen the collaboration and commitment of national associations to exchange knowledge, share best practices, and collectively pave the way for a solar-powered future.