An expert panel of IEEE members, representing the world’s largest technical professional association dedicated to advancing technology, yesterday said that collaboration is key to develop the global solar energy marketplace. They were speaking at the Intersolar Europe 2012 trade fair, which goes on until tomorrow in Munich, Germany. The IEEE expert panel provided leading industry insights on developments in the ever-growing and German-led solar energy industry and solutions to new problems facing global adoption and efficiency.
Competition is stiff in the global solar market, which has seen capacity more than quadruple between 2007 and 2010, when it rose from 9.5 gigawatts to 40 gigawatts. Germany is the world’s solar power leader with 44% of the global solar capacity. “One of the main drivers of the growth of the German solar industry has been guaranteed electricity prices, which is a good example of how governments can support the industry,” said Dr. Marko Delimar, IEEE Director of EMEA and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computing at the University of Zagreb. “This has a reverse effect as well – the photovoltaic producers are not equal participants in the electricity market, therefore work needs to be done for them to be prepared to participate in the market when this favorable treatment ends. This may happen much faster than expected, as in some countries like Spain or Greece, the regulatory photovoltaic support is already being stopped or slowed down.”
While the nature of manufacturing and distribution for the solar industry is necessarily local, in order to create a sustainable, solar-powered future we need a global collaboration, the panel said. “Countries like Germany, US and China already have very good technical standards in place that support the growth of the solar market. They are also among the countries with the biggest investments to foster a rapid adoption and market penetration both among the business and household sectors. We need to share their experience with the rest of the world, especially with countries whose climate conditions are best suited for solar. Cooperation among all key market players, supported by international standards can definitely push this market to success,” stated Dr. Karl Weber, IEEE Member and Principal Expert Smart Grid, TUV Sud.
Dr. Juris Kalejs, IEEE Member and CTO, American Capital Energy, highlighted cooperation and collaboration as the main ingredient in this recipe for success. He said innovation is a critical component to driving success in any industry but we are already looking at state of the art technologies in the renewable energy markets. We now need to work on preparing all markets to cope with this sophisticated level of innovation through international collaboration and cooperation. The smart grid will be critical to helping solar utilities understand where they need to distribute energy; by sharing best practices and data obtained through modelling, we can drive an efficient solar industry that works for all nations.”
IEEE President and CEO Gordon Day said it is in a unique position to provide a platform for dialogue and collaboration among key stakeholders to create a more sustainable global future. “IEEE members are industry leaders around the world and drive discussion and partnership through our publications, conferences and workshops while leading the way with universally adopted standards that deliver more cost-effective and efficient solar implementation worldwide.”
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.