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The solar industry has experienced spectacular growth over the last decade – in parts of Europe, it looks set to triple current capacity by 2030. While the market takes advantage of this unprecedented opportunity for growth, the challenge now is how to ensure the long-term quality of solar projects.
In a first for the sector, SolarPower Europe has published fundamental ‘Lifecycle Quality Best Practice Guidelines’, focusing on the importance of due diligence and risk management across all stages of a project. This new publication also offers the sector a set of standardised definitions for common key terms and stakeholders that appear across SolarPower Europe’s suite of Best Practice Guidelines.
This week, Solar Quality 2021 brings together hundreds of members of the O&M, Asset Management, and EPC communities to advance the long-term quality of Europe’s solar projects. Alongside the new overarching ‘Lifecycle Quality Best Practice Guidelines’, the conference presents updates to two additional reports from SolarPower Europe’s Lifecycle Quality Workstream that brings together the work of more than 25 leading solar experts, from 20 companies;
Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe said, “SolarPower Europe’s 100% Renewable Europe study predicts that, in order to reduce European greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, the continent needs to install 870 GW of solar PV. SolarPower Europe’s Lifecycle Workstream is pleased to present these latest publications that will support the sector delivering high quality, well-maintained, solar projects that invite public trust and investor confidence and underpin the massive growth of European solar.”
Adele Ara, Head of Global Business Operations, Lightsource BP, and Chair of the Lifecycle Quality Workstream, said, “These reports set a firm foundation for Europe’s imminent solar expansion. In addition to our established best practice, for the first time we have built overarching guidance for the entire lifecycle of a solar plant. These documents are a blueprint to deliver quality projects safely and sustainably; projects that operate to their highest potential and leave the smallest of footprints behind them. I am proud to be working with this passionate group of solar experts. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together in 2022.”
Prof. Dr Ralph Gottschalg, Director, Fraunhofer CSP, and Vice-Chair of the Lifecycle Quality Workstream said, “It is a pleasure to have supported SolarPower Europe in establishing a holistic set of guidelines that, for the first time in the industry, not considers specific phases in the life-time of assets but also considers the impact of one phase on another. This will help bringing down life-cycle costs of PV even further and is a major step in becoming a competitive technology.”
Alden Lee, Head of Solar Procurement, Logistics and Quality, ABO Wind, and Vice-Chair of the Lifecycle Quality Workstream, said, “The quality of solar power plants is of utmost importance for investors and the communities because it is required to produce electricity for more than 20 years. With these Guidelines, we want to help the industry to achieve long-lasting quality so that everybody can benefit from solar investments.”
The latest O&M Best Practice Guidelines include a revamped set of recommendations for C&I and residential rooftop solar. There is also a focus on new innovations in monitoring techniques and improving sustainability through module recycling. The second edition of the EPC Best Practice Guidelines gives new recommendations on EPC for PV power plants with storage, reflecting their growing role in integrating solar PV capacity into energy grids. Both guidelines take a more integrated approach to occupational health and safety in a new chapter on Health, Safety, Security, and Environment.
The Lifecycle Quality Workstream grew out of SolarPower Europe’s O&M Task Force in 2020. It reflects the fact that quality assurance is an ongoing process throughout the lifecycle of an asset, and works with industry experts to produce best practice guidelines for O&M, EPC, and Asset Management.