Photo: Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the Energy Union at the European Commission, gives a keynote speech at the SolarPower Summit / Photo Credit: Michael Chia

Highlight: The SolarPower Summit continues to shine in 2018

By: Alyssa Pek, Communications Assistant

On the 14-15 March in Brussels, over 300 industry leaders and high-level policy makers from over 30 countries came together under one roof to discuss the future of solar in Europe at the SolarPower Summit. This annual event is recognised as one of the leading events on global solar developments in Europe, and this year's edition was no exception.

With an agenda packed with cutting-edge panels with over 60 expert speakers sharing their insights on all the latest trends in solar from storage to digitalisation to emerging market opportunities, the event was a unique platform for innovators across the entire solar value chain to exchange information and learn from each other to stay on the frontlines of all new trends.

SolarPower Europe's President, Christian Westermeier, kicked-off the SolarPower Summit announcing our first 2017 global solar development market figures commenting, "Solar is growing again in Europe, but this growth could be even greater with a more ambitious 35% RES target for 2030 and the removal of solar trade measures".

Photo: Miguel Arias Canete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy at the European Commission, sits next to James Watson, CEO at SolarPower Europe, and Michael Schmela, Executive Advisor at SolarPower Europe, waiting to give his keynote speech / Photo Credit: Michael Chia

These call for increased ambition was not just discussed at the industry level, but also at the EU policy level. Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the Energy Union during his keynote speech said, "we want everyone to have the right to have solar panels on their roof and the right to produce, store, and consume their own energy", adding that he is also a proud owner of solar panels on his home in Bratislava.

Miguel Arias Canete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy at the European Commission, recognised the key role for solar in Europe's economy and energy transition saying, "we need a new industrial framework to boost renewables innovation and deployment to ensure that Europe's growth is powered by clean energy".

The SolarPower Summit was therefore an exceptional opportunity for the industry to discuss first-hand with these policy makers the potential and challenges that the European solar industry faces. Solar offers immense opportunities for the EU, and this did not go unnoticed by policy makers who all showed great enthusiasm and reasserted their commitment to the energy transition.

Photo: Bruce Douglas, Deputy CEO and COO at SolarPower Europe, with Jose Donoso, Director General at UNEF, and Paula Abreu Marques, Head of Unit for 'Renewables and CCS policy' for DG Energy at the European Commission, at the SolarPower Summit networking reception / Photo Credit: Michael Chia

"The level of attendance and the richness of the discussions makes the SolarPower Summit a landmark event in Europe's energy sector", commented Paula Abreu Marques, Head of Unit for 'Renewables and CCS policy' for DG ENERGY at the European Commission during her keynote speech.

The SolarPower Summit discussions didn't stop at the doors of the conference room, sparking extensive conversations online as well. The hashtag #SolarPowerSummit was featured in over 900 tweets, making over 3.6 million impressions on Twitter and even becoming the number two trending topic on Twitter in Belgium. You can check out some of the best tweets from the event here.

It is clear from the feedback of the participants and its impact online that the SolarPower Summit 2018 was a huge success. We would like to thank all of the participants, speakers, and sponsors of this event for helping to continue its legacy of being the leading event on global solar development in Europe. Next year's edition will be even greater, so see you all again for SolarPower Summit 2019!

See pictures from the SolarPower Summit 2018 here.