The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the heads of the worlds leading solar companies have met in Poznan, Poland to discuss the development and implementation of global policies designed to help the growth of the solar industry internationally and to lead the way in the reduction of Greenhouse Gases (GHC) in order to meet climate goals.
Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Chairman and CEO, Jeremy Leggett, Executive Chairman of Solarcentury, Mike Ahearn, Chairman and CEO of First Solar, and Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director strongly advocated solar energy as a viable energy production solution which should be taken up by governments around the globe:
“Solar technology is no longer a niche energy solution, but is already reaching the scale and cost points to fundamentally change the way we generate electricity. As a result of substantial investments over the past 5 years, the solar industry has dramatically improved solar technologies and established roadmaps for further cost reductions. In fact, electricity generated from solar installations is already reaching parity with peak energy and retail energy prices in many regions.”
The conference concluded that the following objectives are the key to meeting GHG- reduction and economic-development goals:
· Stringent, ambitious, international and national carbon regulation policies
· Enforceable renewables mandates with a solar carve out or credit multiplier for solar energy
· Near-term incentives that could include feed-in tariffs, partial rebates, tax credits and/or property-based loans
· Favourable net metering, interconnection, permitting and land-use policies.
The recent UK Energy Bill will certainly have pleased the consortium as it gives provisions for the implementation of feed-in tariffs by 2010 which are seen as being fundamental to the setting up of a coherent renewable energy solution. The plans are for the government to guarantee a fixed, premium rate for energy fed back into the national grid by small, renewable energy producers and will be essential to the UK meeting its climate change goals.