Madrid, 19 October 2021 | The Third Vice-President of the Government Teresa Ribera has announced that the National Floating Photovoltaic Strategy can be approved in a few days and that solar energy is a great force for the transformation of the country. For the Minister of Ecological Transition, the solar sector is promising, has great potential and has a long way to go between now and 2050, as recognised by the International Energy Agency. The experience of photovoltaics, which is a service, an industry and much more, she said, is key to the energy transition.
Teresa Ribera made these statements during an event organised by the Spanish Photovoltaic Union, which today is holding the first day of another year of the Solar Forum, the most important photovoltaic event in Spain, which lasts two days and which on its first day brought together more than 725 people in person.
The Thrird Vice-President also spoke of the importance of the renewable auctions that are being resolved today and the changes they incorporate compared to other calls for tenders, such as a specific auction for small solar plants, a demand that UNEF has been requesting for some time. In addition, he added that the government aspires to reach 500,000 solar roofs and 1,200 energy communities within two years.
For his part, the president of the Spanish Photovoltaic Union, Rafael Benjumea, emphasised the special moment we are living in the fight against climate change and the need, precisely because of the urgency to act, to do things in an impeccable way from an environmental point of view and with the utmost social responsibility, so that it really is a turning point.
He also stressed the need to speed up the administrative processes in order to be able to complete the projects on schedule, on the one hand, and to achieve sufficient legal certainty to be able to continue with the contracting of PPAs, on the other, something on which many of the speakers at the morning session agreed.
The director general of the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving, Joan Groizard, drew attention to the importance of technological and energy independence, as has been demonstrated in the pandemic, for health and economic recovery. In this sense, photovoltaics is an opportunity because it is indigenous and has social capillarity, he stressed.
Groizard highlighted the great value of the national photovoltaic value chain for SMEs and employment, and how solar energy plays a fundamental and transversal role in the Recovery Plan, affecting both the agri-food sector and self-consumption in administrations, etc... Photovoltaics, he pointed out, fits in perfectly with the change that the energy transition and the citizen participation that it brings in new ways through its multiple modalities, he said.
Jose Donoso, Director General of UNEF, who was in charge of opening the event, made it clear that in this year and a half long period of physical distancing that has culminated in the great reunion of the sector today in Madrid, new challenges have also arisen that require everyone to work together. One is the social contestation that in some rural areas of Spain has awakened the necessary renewable deployment to meet the objectives included in the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC); another is the dizzying increase in final electricity prices over the last few months.
For José Donoso, it is important to mobilise and deactivate these challenges in order to turn them into opportunities. He therefore called for the collaboration of the entire sector and expressed his gratitude that the Association already has more than 600 member companies. "We must work for transparency and environmental and social excellence as well as social responsibility through dialogue with local communities. Photovoltaics is the cleanest, cheapest and most environmentally friendly energy that can help lower prices, combat climate change and democratise the use of energy", he said.
The 8th Solar Forum, which aims to make a decisive contribution to raising awareness of the potential of photovoltaic energy as a source of opportunities for the ecological transformation of the economy and as a guarantee of sustainability. "We are the solution to the rising cost of electricity bills", said José Donoso, Director General of UNEF. "Many of the problems we have on the table will be solved by making a firm commitment to photovoltaic energy. We citizens must demand that the administrations make a firm commitment to a fair and sustainable ecological transition," he said.
The Forum is being organised in a context of rising electricity prices and where institutions such as the United Nations (UN) have urged governments to speed up the Green Transition in order to reduce its price and guarantee its sustainability. "It is essential that local and regional institutions also promote this transition. We cannot stand idly by while the price of electricity rises. Recent events have shown that neither Spain nor Europe can afford to depend on fossil fuels. We must demand that our representatives take this seriously at all levels", he said, while stressing that only renewables can guarantee this objective. "Only only renewables can guarantee a clean, stable and affordable electricity supply. And in this objective, photovoltaic solar energy is the best option available, and also the most sustainable," Donoso pointed out. The round table discussions held in the morning focused on how companies are adapting their strategies to the new circumstances, a debate in which the PPAs played a leading role.
From an optimistic point of view, this was followed by a round table on regulation and the new opportunities offered to photovoltaics by collective self-consumption, photovoltaic communities and demand aggregators. The capacity to accelerate distributed energy projects of the recovery funds was widely expressed. It was clear that they have been growing for some years now, but that the aid from the Recovery Plan has undoubtedly been a further incentive, although there is a lack of awareness among the population.
The last round table before lunch was dedicated to the potential of photovoltaic plants to hybridise with other technologies and to identify the barriers that exist for the development of storage systems.