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GSC Launches “Empowering People with Solar PV” Campaign to Promote Distributed Solar Energy

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Global Solar Council (GSC), is launching the campaign “Empowering People with Solar PV”, which aims to accelerate the adoption of solar PV at the local level and support the overall solar capacity targets in a net zero pathway.

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GSC focuses on the buildings sector, focusing mainly on rooftops. It aims to empower millions of homeowners and entrepreneurs who are eager to take part in the fight against climate change. GSC wants institutions to follow their lead and install rooftop solar systems in all public buildings, including schools and administrative buildings.

GSC is certain that solar PV will be more important than any other transition method. It will soon become the common-use technology that everyone uses to identify the energy revolution. This campaign aims to capitalize on the extraordinary momentum that is building as consumers are more aware of climate change and the dangers of dependence on fossil fuels. It also reflects a desire to make a difference on an individual basis. Consumers are seeing distributed solar power as an option to be more self-sufficient and stabilize their energy bills, even though power grids around the world are under increasing pressure due to severe weather events (USA, Australia, and others).

The global decarbonization race is a race that can be made a difference, particularly at this critical moment when the latest events confirm the need to eliminate fossil fuels and transition towards greater energy independence. Distributed generation is becoming more important in the race for net-zero and a fair transition. The latest intelligence from markets and sectors clearly outlines the need to use solar PV. Nearly 40% of global energy-related CO2 emissions come from buildings, including residential, commercial, and public buildings. This sector is responsible for about one-third total energy consumption.

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IRENA outlines the importance of energy conservation and efficiency in heating/cooling if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. The buildings sector would have the highest direct electrification rates at 56% and 73% respectively by 2030 and 2050, as opposed to 30% currently. The buildings sector is responsible for almost 28% overall of the energy transition investments needed between 2030 and 2050. The fundamental role of solar energy is to provide renewable energy for buildings and electrify rural and off-grid areas.

IEA estimates that 100 million households worldwide will need rooftop solar PV systems by 2030, and 240 millions by 2050 to achieve net-zero in 2050. This is up from the current 25million. GSC aims to accelerate such numbers. This will allow solar PV to unlock its full potential to mitigate the climate crisis, drive the development of smart cities and energy communities, self-consumption and empower people and communities with sustainable, inclusive access to electricity. Distributed solar PV can also have positive externalities that will increase the overall electrification of buildings and improve energy efficiency. This includes heating and cooling, lighting and cooking.

The rooftop sector has its own set of barriers, bottlenecks, and constraints. These need to be considered from an inter-regional perspective. Utility-scale plants will attract more short-term investment to increase the share of PV installations. However, rooftops will require a deeper and longer-term transformation of electricity systems towards a more distributed model.

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The GSC is uniquely placed to join the entire global solar industry’s supply chain, compare developed and developing markets, engage contacts at a local and regional level, and activate partnerships with relevant organizations, even beyond the power sector. This is why the ambitious communication initiatives of the “Empowering people with solar PV” campaign to disseminate solar power’s advantages and benefits to the public at large will be complemented by a policy benchmarking in several countries of all continents.

An in-depth comparative analysis of regulations in the distributed solar PV sector will be conducted by engaging the GSC members as well as key stakeholders ranging from industry associations to regulators and administrations to understand potential distributed capacity and main challenges in different countries and collect good policy practices concerning grid connection, energy storage, tariffs and more. GSC will formulate recommendations in a flagship report, including mapping of most common challenges and main regulatory barriers in the emerging markets and matching them with good policy practices in mature markets, to be presented at COP27 in November 2022 .

Mature solar markets have demonstrated how not only large-scale plants but distributed systems whether in private, public or industrial buildings, can be a large part of the total renewable capacity. Solar PV still accounts for only about 3% of global electricity generation, so there is huge potential to unlock. There is a need to accelerate deployment simplifying the authorization procedures. Especially for rooftop systems, it is necessary to break down unnecessary barriers and authorize installation and connection to the grid much faster.

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“Our initiative fits into this context, with the aim of promoting the simplification of the authorization processes and the development of enabling policies and instruments such as energy communities, that are in line with the maximization of solar energy’s potential. We want to break down all clichés and psychological barriers and empower those who seek to become independent and contribute to climate action. To achieve great engagement among decision-makers, energy and construction companies, and the public at large, powerful dissemination will be key. We are developing important partnerships with diverse global stakeholders that can help us maximize the campaign’s outreach around the world”, said Gianni Chianetta, CEO of GSC.

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