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SolarPower Europe CEO Walburga Hemetsberger speaks to GES Magazine

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SolarPower Europe Ceo Walburga Hemetsberger, made exclusive declarations for GES Magazine. Hemetsberger, giving information about new period activities of SolarPower, made evaluations on the current status and opportunities of solar energy in Turkey.

Walburga Hemetsberger 
Walburga Hemetsberger is the Chief Executive Officer of SolarPower Europe, the association for the European solar industry, which aims to ensure that more energy is generated by solar than any other energy source by 2030. Her previous experience includes her roles as Head of the EU Representation Office at VERBUND for nine years; Advisor of Financial and Capital Markets at The Association of German Public Banks and Association of Public Banks (VÖB / EAPB); Competition lawyer at Haarmann Hemmelrath and experience in the DG Competition Merger Control Task Force. Walburga has also been a Board Member of Hydrogen Europe.

Can you tell us about SolarPower Europe?

Since 1985, SolarPower Europe has been the association for the European solar industry. We are a member-led association, with over 200 members representing the entire solar value chain, from manufacturers to installers, research institutes to project developers and many more. Our aim is to ensure that more energy is generated by solar than any other energy source by 2030. We also work with a wide range of intergovernmental organisations, institutes and organisations to accelerate the energy transition with solar at the core. 

Our work encompasses a range of topics and trends in the solar sector from digitalisation to storage, building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) to operations and maintenance (O&M), emerging markets to solar mobility. We coordinate a number of Task Forces with the support and involvement of our members, within which we publish reports, host webinars, workshops and events. Annually, we organise five flagship events: SolarPower Summit, Midsummer Celebration, RE-Source, Digital Solar & Storage, O&M and Asset Management.

We have been recognised as the number one association in the world for our energy and climate advocacy by the non-for-profit and independent Influencemap which ranks all associations on a global basis – a major endorsement of our work. Recently SolarPower Europe also received the ‘Overall Best European Association’ award at the European Association Awards 2019 in Brussels, Belgium.

How do you evaluate general outlook on Europe when you evaluate the current situation and the future potential of solar energy?

It is truly an exciting time for solar in Europe as we have entered a new era of solar growth. In 2018, solar in the EU-28 grew by 36% to 8.0 GW, up from 5.9 GW of newly installed capacity the previous year. Solar installations in Europe as a whole grew by 20% to 11 GW in 2018, up from 9.2 GW in 2017. 

2019 will be an even better year for solar in Europe. Our forecast sees solar demand surge by over 80% to 20.4 GW in 2019, and an 18% growth to 24.1 GW in 2020, which would be a new installation record, surpassing the 22.5 GW Europe added in 2011. This year, we anticipate France, Italy and Spain to all enter the GW-scale annual installation level. 

According to Bloomberg New Energy Forum (BNEF), solar as the lowest cost and most easily deployed clean energy technology will dominate power generation in the long-term, anticipating that in a scenario reaching around 87% renewables in Europe in 2050, solar will have a 36% share equal to 1,400 GW.

Solar also has the highest level of support in Europe, with 89% of Germans, 85% of Italians, and 85% of French saying it was their preference, according to a European Social Survey (ESS). This is because solar is the most democratic and decentralised form of energy – anyone, anywhere can install it, whether it’s on your home, school, hospital or business.

Thus, the future of solar is very bright in Europe!

Via the new campaign started by SolarPower Europe, solar panels’ installation on renovated and newly constructed buildings is aimed to pass inside EU legislation. We see certain that this groundbreaking campaign shall meet much support. How is the general reaction? 

SolarPower Europe has indeed recently unveiled its new campaign, that all new and renovated buildings in the EU should have solar installed. It simply does not make sense any longer to have buildings constructed or renovated without solar, at a time when we need to take urgent action on climate change. Installing solar on all new and renovated buildings in the EU can save more than 4 million tonnes of CO2 annually and help lighten the electricity bills of European households. Whether you own or rent your home, or you are a landlord, investing in solar is low-cost, with an estimated payback time of around 10 years and a warranted lifetime of up to 30 years.

Our campaign is inspired by the recently adopted law in California, requiring houses built from 2020 to include rooftop solar. We already see similar initiatives in Europe. The Balearic parliament (Spain) has approved a law that includes, among other measures, an obligation to incorporate solar PV panels in car parks and new buildings. In the city of Tübingen, Germany, it is mandatory to install solar on all new houses and commercial buildings. 

We are now calling on all Europeans to sign our online petition in an effort to introduce solar on all new and renovated buildings in EU legislation. Diverse stakeholders from policymakers to associations, institutes and corporations have already embraced our campaign. We are open to cooperate with all stakeholders, including of course the construction industry and architects. Overall, the general reaction has been very positive, and we look forward to presenting our campaign to the new European Commission and European Parliament in November.

While energy transition is experienced across the world, positive numbers are published each day, especially on employment transition. What role does solar play in terms of employment? 

The solar industry is the biggest employer in the global renewable energy sector, creating more jobs per installed watt than any other power generation source, both fossil fuel and renewable sources, with the industry accounting for 3.6 million jobs in 2018 – one-third of the total renewable energy workforce – according to International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Solar is a technology that has a strong positive effect on employment in Europe. For every terawatt hour of power produced, solar currently creates 1,100 jobs in the EU. This is several times more than any other energy industry, specifically nuclear, coal and gas.

Three out of four solar jobs in the EU are downstream jobs. These jobs are created locally, cannot be exported overseas and therefore contribute to long-term socioeconomic development. Small-scale solar installations in the EU support almost three times as many jobs and gross value added than large-scale ones. This is because, of the 115 GW installed solar power capacity, two-thirds are rooftop systems, which are more labour intensive when it comes to installation.

Solar also presents a significant opportunity for jobs and new industry in regions affected by the decline of coal. A European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) study found that installing solar in former coal regions helps create jobs and enables reemployment, particularly during the construction phase. According to JRC, solar is especially suitable for employing former coal workers and can help drive regional development. 

In short, solar provides huge opportunities for clean, safe and reliable jobs across the world.

Corporate sourcing of renewable energy has become a major trend – what its potential and how can it be accelerated in Europe? 

Corporate sourcing of renewable energy has become a major business opportunity worldwide, boosting the economic competitiveness of corporates and reducing their carbon footprint. In Europe, 16 GW of new renewable energy sources have been contracted over the last five years, either through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) or direct onsite installations. 

In Europe, there is huge potential for corporate sourcing of renewable energy, although some barriers remain. To unlock the full potential, policymakers should remove all regulatory and administrative barriers to corporate sourcing, as required by the recently enacted Renewable Energy Directive, so the early success – mainly concentrated to date in the Nordics, the Netherlands and the UK – can be replicated more broadly.

Greater clarity and certainty in the long-term ownership of Guarantees of Origin (GOs) are crucial for corporates to know they are buying renewable electricity. A wide variety of procurement models and market products should be enabled, from on and offsite solutions to multi-corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) to minimise risks and maximise participation. Corporates must also be allowed to sign cross-border renewable energy transactions to maximise opportunities to deploy the most cost-effective renewable energy solutions.

SolarPower Europe together with WindEurope, RE100 and wbcsd have launched the RE-Source Platform, a European alliance of stakeholders representing clean energy buyers and suppliers for corporate renewable energy sourcing. This platform pools resources and coordinates activities to promote a better framework for corporate renewable energy sourcing at EU and national level. Corporate sourcing of renewable energy will only continue to grow as more and more companies have committed to source 100% of their electricity from renewables – so watch this space!

Recently, Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director, has announced that Turkey is 3rd in Europe for last 5 years’ assessment of increase renewable energy installation. How do you evaluate Turkey’s development in terms of solar energy?

Currently, Turkey is the second largest solar market in Europe and has great untapped potential which could reach 500 GW. The PV market in Turkey continued to grow very fast in 2018, even though it was less than the record year of 2017. 

At least one-third of Turkey’s existing roof area is deemed to be suitable for solar installations, equal to around 467 million m². If solar was installed on all these roofs, that would total around 46,000 MW, with 23,000 MW on residential roofs, 21,000 MW on industrial and commercial roofs, and 2,000 MW on the roofs of public institutions. 

Turkey is considered one of the fastest growing energy markets in the world – with great potential for solar!

What’s next for SolarPower Europe?

One of our top priorities is to put in place an industrial strategy for the European solar industry. With several solar stakeholders such as European researchers, production equipment suppliers, raw and processing materials companies, inverter manufacturers, and many others, being world leaders in their fields, we need an industrial strategy to make sure that Europe continues to lead on solar and renewables. 

SolarPower Europe has developed an ambitious industrial strategy that will see the EU take global leadership on solar technologies, manufacturing and services, and at the same time create thousands of clean energy jobs in Europe.

We are also seeing new opportunities arise beyond the power sector such as solar-to-hydrogen technologies and solar mobility. We already see examples of solar-based hydrogen projects in Europe and these technologies are ramping up fast. Likewise, electromobility is an emerging global trend that will open up new and exciting opportunities for solar. 

The future looks bright for solar in Europe – the outcome for solar in the EU’s Clean Energy Package, which ensures the right to self-consumption of solar and maintains priority dispatch for small-scale solar installations, was highly successful. Now we are working to ensure that EU member states live up to their commitments and put national frameworks in place to support further solar growth. Moreover, the EU’s 2050 climate and energy strategy will be highly important for the solar sector, this the EU’s strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. More than ever before, solar is ready to play a leading role in Europe’s energy transition as the lowest-cost clean energy technology.

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We have surpassed the psychological threshold of 10,000 megawatts in solar energy

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As of the end of June, Turkey’s total installed capacity reached 104,800 Megawatts (MW), with solar energy accounting for 10,195 MW. Turkey is among the fastest-growing countries in the solar energy sector in Europe, with solar energy holding a 10% share in the country’s installed capacity. The goal is to increase the solar energy capacity to 52,300 MW by the year 2035.

Mehmet Doğan, a board member of the Energy Industrialists and Business People Association (ENSİA) and the General Manager of HSA Energy, highlighted the importance of establishing licensed solar power plants (GES) in areas far from city centers and lands that have completely lost their agricultural characteristics. He emphasized that energy production and food security are not alternatives to each other.

Doğan pointed out that rooftop solar installations in Turkey are currently well below their potential. He said, “As of June, our country has surpassed the psychological threshold of 10,000 MW in solar energy, and we should applaud this significant achievement. However, we must acknowledge that we still have a long way to go. The potential electricity production from rooftop solar installations alone is at the level of 55,000 MW, which is more than five times the capacity of all the solar plants built so far. We have much untapped potential in our rooftops. Our priority should definitely be rooftop solar installations. All obstacles preventing citizens with the means and capacity from becoming energy producers should be removed. Licensed solar power plants, on the other hand, should be built in areas far from residential areas and lands that have completely lost their agricultural characteristics. It is disheartening to see many power plants built in forested areas and lands used for agriculture. Additionally, we must utilize solar energy in specially designed greenhouses to prevent water waste in agricultural production.”

Mehmet Doğan stressed that solar energy has the highest potential among renewable energy sources in Turkey. According to the National Action Plan, the target is to achieve a total installed capacity of 189,700 MW by 2035, with solar energy accounting for 52,900 MW.

He further stated, “In the next 12 years, investments in solar energy will be more than five times greater than what has been done until now. By 2030, 50% of global electricity demand will be met by renewable energy sources, with solar energy making the most significant contribution. The solar energy capacity will increase by approximately 280 GW annually until 2030, with an average annual growth rate of about 12%. Turkey is preparing for this significant shift in energy with increasing investments in wind energy in recent years. Among our members, there are very strong companies making investments in this field. The least efficient solar region in Turkey has a higher potential than the most efficient region in Germany. While we are just starting to surpass 10,000 MW in solar energy, Germany, with its less efficient solar resources, generates 70,000 MW, which is seven times more than us. In solar energy alone, our potential installed capacity is over 200,000 MW. If we fully utilize this potential, we can generate enough energy to power two Turkeys. Our priority in solar investments should always be rooftop solar installations. The more citizens we attract to become energy producers, the more we will reduce our dependency on foreign energy sources and boost our development.”

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Turbo Energy, to list its Artificial Intelligence-enabled solar battery technology on NASDAQ

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Today, Umbrella Solar Investment, S.A., USI, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Turbo Energy, S.A. (Turbo Energy) has applied to the SEC to file a Form F-1 prospectus for a securities offering to certain institutional investors in the United States and other countries ahead of the listing of its shares through ADRs on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ) stock market in New York (USA). The SEC’s approval of the prospectus is expected to be granted in the coming weeks and the market will be informed in accordingly.

Turbo Energy, with registered offices in Valencia, designs, manufactures and markets innovative products for residential, commercial and industrial self-consumption solar PV installations featuring advanced technological solutions.By listing its shares on the main international stock market for tech firms, Turbo Energy’s goal is to implement a growth strategy based on accelerating its product roadmap and extending the features of its Artificial Intelligence algorithmic platform.Turbo Energy is committed to combating climate change by creating value-added solar products with technologies that bring together three areas of major stock market investment: solar energy, lithium-ion battery power storage and AI systems.

In the words of Enrique Selva, CEO of Turbo Energy: “Through Turbo Energy’s NASDAQ listing, we intend to drive the company’s strategic growth to capitalise on the growing market for artificial intelligence applied to renewable energy. We are backed by a 10-year track record of innovation, enabling us to deploy our flagship product SunBox, an all-in- one solar system with strong uptake in the residential, commercial and industrial markets”.

Based on the preliminary non-binding range included in the F-1 prospectus, the offering is envisaged to have a minimum pre-money valuation of USD 125 million and will be open to all types of institutional investors. The formula adopted is through trading of ADRs representing Turbo Energy shares with the support of CITIBANK as custodian bank. A minimum of USD 5 million is expected to be raised.

About Umbrella Solar Investment:

Umbrella Solar Investment leverages the full business potentials of the solar PV value chain, generating renewable electricity through the company IM2 Energía Solar, deploying electric vehicle charging points through IM2 e-mobility and developing cutting-edge equipment for residential solar self-consumption through Turbo Energy.

Umbrella provides answers to the huge challenges posed to society by the serious issues of climate crisis, energy poverty and the transition to a sustainable energy model.

LEGAL NOTICE: A registration statement relating to these Turbo Energy securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective.

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy these Turbo Energy securities, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

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Hitachi ABB Power Grids tracks Dublin’s data center surge via grid connections

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One gigawatt substation will support the city’s growing number of data centers to enable the new norm of remote working through efficient connections to electrical infrastructure

Hitachi ABB Power Grids has delivered a fully integrated, high-voltage substation close to Dublin’s digital business hub at Castlebagot, fast-tracking the standard two and a half year execution time to just 18 months, to keep the city’s growing number of large, increasingly important data centers running smoothly 24/7.

The project was commissioned by Ireland’s state-owned Electricity Supply Board (ESB) to meet Dublin’s recent, unprecedented upsurge in demand for electricity, due to the proliferation of new data centers. The project is the largest privately contracted substation development in Ireland to date. To ensure reliable supply to this booming industry, Hitachi ABB Power Grids has delivered a 220 kilovolt (kV)/110 kV substation with gas-insulated switchgear, including the protection and control SCADA system enabling an advanced power system management and monitoring of equipment status while in service. The gas insulated switchgear is a compact technology designed to minimize the substation’s foot-print, enabling space saving of up to 70 percent compared to air-insulated switchgear.

Dublin hosts some of the most important high-tech firms in Europe, in addition to a wide range of thriving tech start-up and colocation services. Planners are currently processing applications for additional, major data centers that will more than double the city’s electricity consumption in the years ahead. With its state-of-the art efficient grid solutions, Hitachi ABB Power Grids is helping to optimize power consumption while maintaining quality of supply.

“We specialize in the prompt delivery of reliable, high-voltage grid connections that respond to the ever growing use of advanced solutions continuing to support people through the challenging times of the current global pandemic.Efficient connections to electrical infrastructure are more critical than ever,” says Niklas Persson, Managing Director of Grid Integration business unit at Hitachi ABB Power Grids. “We are proud to enable the transition to the new norm of connecting people, when disruption to working patterns has increased the demand for remote and digital services, by meeting the need for a stable power supply.”

The energization of the Castlebagot substation in such a short time is even more remarkable given the current demanding situation. Hitachi ABB Power Grids and ESB were able to overcome this challenge due to their digital capabilities which made it possible to energize the substation safely and sustainably, while ensuring business continuity.
Substations are the building blocks for any power grid and facilitate the effective integration of power from conventional and renewable generation sources, to efficiently transmit and distribute it to consumption centers.

Hitachi ABB Power Grids is fast becoming the leading supplier of grid and power quality solutions for data center grid connections for both utilities and data center owners worldwide and is helping cities around the world to meet the extensive power demands of large data center projects. For this project, early collaboration with ESB ensured a design that fulfilled the utility’s availability and reliability requirements. It enabled fast project execution, leveraging our vast knowledge of utility grid codes and connection practices in different countries.

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