Solar jobs and wealth creation in Europe are set to increase to nearly 175,000 full time jobs and 9,500M value added by 2021, according to a new EY report. The EY report also shows that an increase in ambition for the European Union 2030 renewable energy target from 27% to 35% will result in more than 120,000 new solar jobs alone.

Dominique Ristori, Director-General, European Commission, DG Energy, speaking at the launch event of the report, said: "We want to see solar and clean energy well-developed in Europe, more solar jobs and generated value is key to moving towards a sustainable lowcarbon economy."

MEP Butikofer commented "Crucially in the short term, removing solar trade measures currently enforced by DG Trade in the European Commission could give a welcome boost to the European solar industry including new jobs."

MEP Marijana Petir, stated "This surge is only possible if countries increase their solar deployment rate in line with policy requirements to 2020. With the right policies in place this growth could be even greater by 2030. Member States should have the necessary flexibility to boost renewable energy that is available on their territory. With this approach Member states could develop incentives to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and to create new jobs in the most efficient way."
"Our calculations show that Spain will have the highest number of new jobs, with an expected growth of 471% from 2016 to 2021, followed by Greece (+403%), and Poland (+381%)" said EY on their findings for the report.

Christian Westermeier, President of SolarPower Europe said: "The more solar installed the more jobs and economic growth we will see in Europe. We need to remove all barriers to solar starting with withdrawing the trade measures currently in place on solar panels and cells accompanied by a predictable regulatory environment for PV in Europe. EY found that the average PV system price in Europe has decreased by 23% in 2016, compared to 2014, but we know that the price could be even lower if we ended the artificially high tariffs on solar products, which would boost jobs and economic activity in the countries of the EU."

The trade associations representing key players in Europe's energy transition urge policy makers to take a step-wise approach towards the market integration of small-scale renewable and high efficiency cogeneration installations.

Whilst the European institutions are negotiating the recast of the Electricity Market Design Regulation, the signatories of the declaration launch today the "Small Is Beautiful" campaign, aiming at highlighting the benefits of small-scale, clean and locally owned installations to move progressively towards a decentralised energy system.

James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe said: "Small installations empower territories, small businesses, and consumers. When it comes to solar, they are also the biggest job providers. We must reflect on the energy transition we want to see emerging in Europe."

These benefits are, however, threatened by the European Parliament's current proposal requiring all power generators to be "balancing responsible" and the blanket removal of priority dispatch.

Small-scale renewable and high efficiency cogeneration installations are generally run by private consumers, households, communities, farmers, cooperatives or SMEs and benefit the local economy.However, European power markets are mostly not yet « fit » for small installations. Removing the balancing responsibility exemptions and priority dispatch will result in disproportionate costs and technical and administrative burdens.

"Keeping the priority dispatch and access regimes for small installations as proposed by the European Commission is fundamental for empowering energy consumers and boosting investments in local sustainable and efficient energy solutions", indicated Hans Korteweg, Managing Director of COGEN Europe.
Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, commented "To accelerate the energy transition, investor risk needs to be reduced. Exemptions to balancing responsibility and maintaining priority dispatch go a long way in achieving this. All the more so for demonstration projects for innovative technologies: the lower the risk, the faster they can be taken to market".

Rather than encouraging the participation of consumers or SMEs in the energy transition, the current proposals on the table would act as a disincentive.
Signatories of the declaration urge policy makers to maintain priority dispatch and the exemption of balancing responsibilities for small scale renewable and highly efficient cogeneration installations. A balanced approach is key to enable the advent of an increasingly distributed energy system, empowering energy consumers and contributing to the economic and social dynamism of local communities and small businesses.

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