The PV Impact project gathered 128 attendees and 9 highly specialised speakers during its hybrid event, organised with the support of the European Solar Manufacturing Council, which took place in the Press Club Brussels Europe on 30 March 2022.
8 April 2022 – The PV Impact Consortium, with the support of the European Solar Manufacturing Council, organised a hybrid event focused on ecolabels for PV panels and their role in supporting EU-based, green PV manufacturing. While the solar photovoltaic market is booming globally, the question of sustainability has never been more important than now. PV paves the way for drastically reducing carbon emissions in Europe and globally, accelerating the energy transition and significantly contributing to job creation and economic value. However, the question of how to improve the sustainability of PV products remains at the core of the political agenda, as the energy sector must be made cleaner, greener and more sustainable. One key policy instrument to increase the sustainability of PV products is the concept of ecodesign and its derivatives. This event provided an overview of the current situation and highlighted the positive impacts on the market and industry that such policies could trigger.
The event was helmed by Gaëtan Masson, the founder and Managing Director at Becquerel Institute and began with a keynote speech by the European Commission´s representative Davide Polverini (DG GROW).
The first panel session was moderated by Gaëtan Masson and focused on the current status of ecodesign and ecolabel options in Europe, the major differences between these concepts, some international experiences and the views of policy actors in Europe. Speakers included Debbie Graham-Clifford (Senior Manager, Global Electronics Council), Josco Kester (Researcher, TNO), and Davide Polverini (Policy Officer, DG GROW, European Commission). Among other points, the panellists stressed the importance of innovations to achieve sustainable goals and the need for investors to finance these innovations. To realise this, a need for specific regulations was emphasised, to lower the carbon footprint of PV systems and to be able to reach the EU climate targets.
The second panel discussion, moderated by Javier Sanz (Thematic Leader, Renewable energy, InnoEnergy), was focused on the view of the PV industry in Europe and whether the measures and concepts discussed could support the ongoing rebirth of the manufacturing industry in Europe. Several industry players presented their views and experiences and provided guidelines on how to best benefit from such policies. Panellists included Vincent Bes (CEO, Photowatt), Antoine Chalaux (Commercial Director, ROSI Solar), and Carsten Rohr (VP Business Development, NorSun AS), who highlighted that social and environmental standards in Europe should never become a competitive disadvantage. On top of this, there should be the right policies in place to promote sustainability.
The right local tools and regulations will promote the local European production for the PV value chain.
The third panel discussion was moderated by Nieves Espinosa (Scientific Officer, Joint Research Centre, European Commission). It dealt with carbon footprint requirements and discussed past lessons learnt and future possibilities for the European industry. Green public procurement was at the core of the debate with the option to create some public markets for virtuous products. Speakers included Lucas Weiss (CEO, Voltec), Pierre Rale (Photovoltaics Engineer, ADEME), and Tom Rommens (Project Coordinator, VITO), who pointed out that green public procurement is more than carbon footprint, and good service, high quality, supply chain clarity, labour conditions, repairability and routes for recycling are all factors which are equally important to build a circular system.
In his closing remarks, Gaëtan Masson highlighted the silver lining of the day’s discussion, such as after years of discussions around this topic with little impact achieved, there seems to be progress seeing that companies are starting to own the concept.
The recording of the event is available here.