On 27th June, Ms. Mechtild Wörsdörfer, Deputy Director-General of DG ENER, presented the EU Solar Strategy to the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research, and Energy (ITRE).
During the discussion, MEP Jutta Paulus intervened to note that, despite the name, the Strategy focusses predominantly on solar electricity and seems to lack concrete targets and measures on other solar technologies, such as solar heat.
Ms. Paulus highlighted that solar thermal is a long established and cost-efficient technology, which is already successfully deployed in countries like Denmark, specifically through solar district heating. Therefore, she questioned the lack of specific actions about it in the Strategy and asked whether the Commission is working on additional measures to support the deployment of solar heat in the same vein as solar PV.
In her reply, Ms. Wörsdörfer stressed that the Strategy aims to promote solar technologies both in electricity and heat generation, and that the energy demand covered by solar heat should at least triple by 2030 (as mentioned at page 2 of the Strategy). She further added that a level playing field for all solar technologies is needed and, while the initiative wants to avoid targeted subsidies, given the current context of the energy crisis and the need to reduce dependency on imported gas, it is key that the Solar Rooftop Initiative addresses, particularly the heating and cooling sector.
Notably, several MEPs intervening during the Q&A session raised concerns related to the need for quick deployment, the lack of a competitive and established EU industrial sector on solar PV, the risk of consolidating strategic dependencies on some critical raw materials, and the importance of expanding the EU’s energy storage capacity.
The solar thermal sector offers ready solutions to all these challenges, therefore its contribution to the climate and energy security crises should not be downplayed. The proposals from the Solar Thermal Sector can be found in its roadmap: “Energising Europe with Solar Heat”
Full recording: European Parliament Multimedia Centre (europa.eu)
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