Did we Really get a Christmas Present in Paris?

By Oliver Schafer, President of SolarPower Europe

The Paris agreement has been hailed as a great success, putting the world on track to change the way it produces energy. It is indeed a good start, but there is much more to be done to really see the changes that we need to deliver a true energy transition. In this respect, good starts and good intentions do not always lead to great results and so we surely still have a long way to go to see the real change in action. Personally I would have preferred to sign one sentence: We begin to stop burning coal immediately, and as byproducts we avoid the worst elements of climate change and help sustainable energy sources, such as solar, to play the vital role it should as soon as possible.

Bringing concrete solutions and explicit statements on coal and other polluting energies would have really given us something to cheer. Nevertheless there is momentum and next year in Morocco at COP22, there is another chance to really firm up what needs to be done to end the burning of coal and burning of money building nuclear plants.

So what is in it for our industry concretely? Well, the intention to take climate change seriously and see solar as a major option to stop or at least control it. This means overall there is something good left for us, we are seen as part of the solution and not anymore as part of the problem. We have matured as an industry and so we have to act. 

We are just starting to climb out of the niche of renewables into being a major energy market player, now is the time for the next step, we want to fundamentally change the way energy markets function. Solar and wind will shape the future and this needs market design reflection. SolarPower Europe is ready to lead and guide policymakers through this process, to create the right investment and regulatory framework for solar to flourish in Europe and the world! 

I am personally looking forward to exciting years to come and wish you all a nice break, refresh your energies and take care.

Photo: The Paris agreement is a good start, but there is much more to be done to really see the changes that we need to deliver a true energy transition (UNclimatechange CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)