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EU reinforces support to solar sector through the European Solar Charter

The European Commission has stepped up its efforts to support the solar sector in Europe through the European Solar Charter, signed by energy ministers from 23 EU countries and industry representatives, setting out a series of voluntary actions to be undertaken to support the EU photovoltaic sector.

“The solar photovoltaic manufacturing sector is key for achieving our energy, climate and competitiveness goals,” said Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson. “We must ensure the solar industry remains strong for Europe’s future, renewables-centred energy mix. The European Solar Charter brings together the Commission, national authorities and the industry, fostering cooperation and bringing support to the production of solar panels made in Europe.”

The signatories of the Charter are committing to supporting the competitiveness of the European PV manufacturing industry and promoting the creation of a market for high-quality products meeting high sustainability and resilience criteria, in full respect of the EU’s climate and energy objectives. The Charter outlines a range of elements which can help in this regard, including the early implementation of relevant provisions in the Net-Zero Industry Act on the use of non-price criteria in renewable energy auctions, public procurement or other relevant support schemes.

The European Solar Charter marks the latest step in the Commission’s actions to support solar panel manufacturing in Europe. Previous measures include, amongst others, a proposal for a Net-Zero Industry Act, which is now provisionally agreed by the co-legislators, and the establishment of the European Solar Photovoltaic Industry Alliance.

The signing of the Charter was welcomed by the Brussels-based association SolarPower Europe.

“Solar in Europe has skyrocketed in recent years. Building on the 2022 EU Solar Strategy, the EU Solar Charter reinforces the reality that solar PV is now a mainstream energy technology,” said the CEO of SolarPower Europe, Walburga Hemetsberger. “Europe, and the world, is banking on solar to guide us out of the climate and energy crisis towards a new era of green prosperity and security. The Solar Charter is an important moment of recognition. The continent’s governments have made a high-level promise to our manufacturers, recognising their critical role in the strategic supply chains of today and tomorrow.”

Nevertheless, she urged rapid action and concrete measures at the national and EU levels to support manufacturers.

“This means rolling out resilience criteria in public procurement and auctions as soon as possible, unlocking subsidy support, and establishing dedicated EU financing for solar,” she explained.

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