EU PVSEC 2020 digital press conference

3 September 2020

Introduction Jon de Gregorio, WIP Renewable Energies (Organiser EU PVSEC)video pressconf
As we all know, this is being a complicated year. We started designing the event, already in 2019, as a physical on-site one. Many things happened in between including a worldwide pandemic.
We faced the challenges and decided to offer a full online, full live event for the first time in the history of the EU PVSEC.

But the challenges and difficulties were not just on our side as an event organiser, but as well on those of many PV experts and researchers that submitted theirs abstracts in February and had their job, tests, investigations affected in the meantime. For them we can only have gratitude for their efforts, commitment and trust in the EU PVSEC as the platform to make their findings public, network and discuss. Thanks to them, the EU PVSEC Conference Programme remains as complete, exciting, and innovative as in a regular year.

On top of the full programme, we were able to maintain the character of on on-site EU PVSEC, offering an all-virtual exhibition, Parallel Events and various possibilities to interact with fellow participants.

We offer the PV Community: A Digital Event that connects Science to Science and Science to Industry, this year, everywhere. Meeting and networking with all relevant actors of the PV sector in one unique Platform that enables full interaction between audience and speakers and among participants.

One of the biggest Online Conferences in the PV Sector with a full live Programme, and the possibility of accessing presentations on video on demand few hours after the live session up to one month after the event.


Introduction Prof. Nicola Pearsall, EU PVSEC General Chair, Northumbria University, UK
Firstly, I would like to say it is both an honour and a pleasure to act as General Chair for the 37th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference. I have been involved in research in photovoltaics for the whole of my career, working across a range of topics, and the European conference has been a fixture in my diary for most of that time. So I would like to start with a few personal comments about the nature and value of the conference to a researcher such as myself and then perhaps try to address the wider context for the event.

For me, technical conferences can generally be divided into two broad categories. There are meetings are devoted to a specific topic, perhaps a particular kind of solar cell or aspect of PV system development. These meetings are very useful to provide a concentrated environment for knowledge transfer, but by their nature they tend to restrict the networking to those working in the same subject area. Then there are conferences like the EU PVSEC, which cover a wide range of PV topics in a single overall event. Whilst maintaining the high technical content, the resulting interaction between those working in devices, systems, environmental impact, market development and many more topics, is a valuable opportunity for developing contacts and the interdisciplinary collaborative research that is essential to promote photovoltaics.

Personally, I enjoy catching up on all the different topics, especially during the plenary sessions where you get an overview of the latest developments. This is probably partly because my research career has spanned the range from cell development to system design and performance analysis, but I think it is important for everyone to have a good overview of the whole sector. Usually, the conference is a bit of a challenge for me, since there are sessions in parallel that I wish to listen to. So, whilst I am looking forward to being able to listen to as many presentations in the live format as I can fit in, I am also excited to have the catch-up facility this time, so that I can make sure to hear even more of the presentations in the next few weeks.

It has become something of a cliché to say we are living through strange times, and this has obviously influenced the delivery of the conference as already described by Jon, although the hard work of the organisers has meant that the format will continue to be very familiar to the regular delegate. The current situation also raises some questions as to how PV can contribute to the recovery after Covid-19 and this presents some new and some familiar challenges.

Many governments have suggested addressing climate change will be a major part of their recovery plans, but we have yet to see what that actually means in terms of action. Most renewable energies share the characteristic of high initial capital costs, even though it can often be demonstrated that lifetime costs of electricity are substantially less than for fossil-based electricity generation. But where the economy is badly affected by the virus, what will the investment environment look like? Despite the PV being competitive in many countries, there is still some work to be done in demonstrating how the technology can play its full part in the near-term recovery.

I want to also mention one the other major issues facing our countries as we begin our recovery - that of employment. The PV community also needs to be very conscious of supporting its existing workforce, both in industry and research, and in contributing to the development of the overall employment in the renewable energy sector. There are many young people with a very keen awareness of the climate issues and we should try to make sure there are sufficient opportunities for them to contribute and that we promote those opportunities strongly.

I am looking forward to being able to having interesting discussions over the conference week and beyond so that we can act collectively in the months ahead.

Introduction Dr. Robert Kenny, EU PVSEC Technical Programme Chair, European Commission Joint Research Centre
The first ever online EU PVSEC. We have worked hard to maintain the full original programme, with live and interactive sessions all week from the opening session on Monday until the closing session on Friday. We also want to retain the key networking role of the conference, with the possibility to contact delegates and chat rooms for each of the thematic themes on our bespoke platform.

The EU PVSEC continues to be the leading platform for the global PV community to meet and discuss new ideas and concepts. The conference maintains at its heart the sharing and development of technical knowledge regarding PV materials, cells and systems. It also sees as essential the dissemination of work that helps ensure rapidly increasing quantities of renewable energy, especially that generated by PV, can be integrated into the current and future energy network.

Maintaining momentum was the title of the call for abstracts – especially with the current crisis it is even more important, and events like the EU PVSEC are critical to drive this message home.

Overview of topics: Broad ranging, covering topics from basic concepts to markets and everything in between. It goes without saying that the EU PVSEC will continue to showcase the most recent developments in concepts, materials and applications, including silicon, perovskite, thin film, organic and tandem devices. Advances in storage and grid integration are essential for the continued expansion of renewable energy and are the subject of their own subtopics.

European angle – Climate, Energy and Mobility have key roles in the European Commission’s the next research and innovation framework programme, Horizon Europe. The overarching driver is the ambition to achieve climate neutrality in Europe by 2050, entailing the decarbonisation of the energy and mobility sectors. R&I actions will make the energy supply side cleaner, more secure, and competitive by boosting cost, performance and reliability of a broad portfolio of renewable energy solutions, including photovoltaics.

Stats about technical programme, number of papers, presenters, delegates, countries

  • 870 Presentations from 60 countries ( corresponding author)
  • 13 plenary talks in 3 thematic plenary sessions (Innovations in PV Technologies, Innovations for PV Industry and Deployment, and PV in the Energy System)
  • 325 Oral presentations in 64 sessions
  • 432 Visual presentations in 15 sesssions
  • Additionally, opening session, parallel events and industry presentations
  • Poster and student awards

I thank the scientific committee and PV community for their dedication and commitment and their continuing faith in or shared conference. The opportunity to share their work with and learn from a large gathering of their fellow experts over a broad range of topics critical to the future energy system is unique to the EU PVSEC.

Expected impact, scientific and societal:

  • Upscaling of PV and deployment at TW scale.
  • It is also important to keep in mind PV impacts on society and global challenges like sustainability, global change and poverty alleviation, especially in developing countries and emerging markets.