Storage Key To Unlocking EU Solar Potential

EU solar and storage policy

SolarPower Europe is calling on EU member states to set concrete policy on solar storage technologies in order to unlock huge clean energy potential in the electricity, heating and cooling as well as transport sectors.

In a new policy paper, “Solar and Storage”, SolarPower Europe (former European Photovoltaic Industries Association), along with partners the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) and the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers (EUROBAT), argues that storage of solar energy provides the cheapest and most effective use of electricity from PV systems.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) predicts that by 2025, 22 EU member states will have a renewable energy capacity of 50 percent or more, with solar power providing a substantial proportion of this figure.

In Italy, Germany and the UK, increased use of solar energy has already proven to shave electricity loads during the day, lowering demand on national grids.

The paper argues that As renewable capacity ramps up across Europe in coming decades, new forms of flexibility in the form of enhanced storage solutions can ensure a more cost-effective use of electricity by saving excess solar power during peak times and releasing it during periods of lower production.

“Storage allows for households to consume more of the solar power they produce. But solar and storage together also provide wider system benefits as storage technologies allow for the best use of cheap solar electricity when it is available,” said Policy Director of SolarPower Europe Alexandre Roesch.

Hampering the market for storage solutions across the EU is the absence of an agreed legal definition of storage among member states. Setting a common legal definition is therefore vital to establishing a regulatory framework for storage on an industrial scale and allowing space for new innovations to find their way to market.

The paper also recommends removing barriers (i.e. taxes or levies) to self-consumption of energy from storage, along with ensuring all services provided by solar and storage to Distributed Network Operators (DSO) and Transmission System Operators (TSOs) are recognised and valuated.

Further measures include integrating storage into Europe’s complex Heating and Cooling regulations for buildings, and examining the role solar and storage can play in driving e-mobility (electric cars, trucks and buses).

With the cost of solar power systems continuing to fall, the paper foresees exponential growth in new energy storage technologies, driving a jobs boom in the sector. Public efforts to support R&D of storage, along with temporary market programs to drive down costs are among measures recommended by experts.

The policy paper can be downloaded here (PDF).