At the beginning of the week, SolarPower Europe released their most recent report on European solar business concepts. pv Europe, an online magazine focussing on solar energy, has interviewed Sonia Dunlop, the Policy Adviser in charge of this report, who revealed the key aspects.
SolarPower Europe is the European solar market’s association. Their regular reports draw a detailed picture of the current situation of the European solar market. The most recent report was published at the beginning of the week and focuses on European solar business concepts. pv Europe interviewed Sonia Dunlop, the author, on the key points.
Most promising solar business concepts
According to Dunlop, self-consumption (where the operator owns the system) and power purchase agreements or PPAs (where a third party owns the system and sells the power on- or off-site) are the two most promising grassroots business models. “Further to these two core business models, we identified cooperatives and virtual power plants as two additional business models,“ Dunlop is quoted by pv Europe.
Can these models be applied EU-wide?
Every country has different conditions, which can complicate the introduction of a previously successful business model to a new market. However, Dunlop still believes that it pays off to identify and look at promising models and spread the best practices. “Examples of best practices are the mini-utility model in Ireland, synthetic PPAs in UK where a plant operator supplies a commercial consumer with a fixed rate or “Mieterstrom” in Germany. […] If the legal framework conditions are suitable these models can also show the way for business models in other countries,“ Dunlop explains.
Solar-friendly political framework required
A more solar-friendly political framework would strongly help to implement new solar business concepts more easily. Hence, Dunlop and her team are drawing up a follow-up policy report which will include a set of suggestions on how to proceed with this. “These include also simple changes on the local and national level, for instance to allow the sharing of solar power within the same building without a lot of bureaucracy,“ Dunlop says.
Cost and risk reduction are keys to successful model implementation
As stated by Dunlop, the major obstacles between the conception of a business model and its successful implementation are the high up-front costs and the financing risks. “The goal is to decrease financing risks and bring down the capital costs,“ she explains. “This can lead the way for PV also in Southeastern Europe.“
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