Sneak peek of the third plenary session

"Sustainability and Social Acceptance Preparing for the Terawatt Era"

The Friday, 10th September 2021 Plenary session concludes the scientific programme of the 2021 EUPVSEC. After the conference week with many in-depth presentations, this plenary will bring you the wider perspective of photovoltaic solar energy in the context of the wider Energy transition.

Sustainability is the theme of the first two presentations. The first one, given by Lukas Wagner of the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, will introduce in detail the concept of both the CO2 and Resource footprint of the PV-industry. Based on a carefully designed Life-Cycle-Analysis, the presentation will also compare large-scale production in China and the EU. It will be very interesting to learn how much contribution to global warming a Terawatt-PV Industry one could expect, and where the major potential is to reduce the impact. (10:30, EP 1.1)

The second plenary extends the scope of photovoltaics as a sustainable energy source towards the wider policy context of sustainable products, and Nieves Espinosa of the European Commission will explain how the well-established Eco-design directive is planned to be applied to products used in photovoltaic solar energy. Based on a preparatory study of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the proposed framework of measures addresses sustainable manufacturing, the overall environmental footprint, including the compensation through CO2-free electricity generation. (10:50, EP 1.2)

As photovoltaics is entering the “Terawatt-Age” as a major, very cost-effective electricity source, more groups consider the tandem with green Hydrogen production as the next, ultimate frontier for achieving a 100% renewable energy supply around 2050. A European Group of experts spanning from Finland to Italy, and Spain to Belgium investigates the True Cost of Solar Hydrogen. Assuming that all future Hydrogen will be produced by Wind and Solar, this plenary presentation by Eero Vartiainen will bring some news regarding the additional cost, separating the cost of renewable electricity from the cost of the capital-intensive electrolysers. There will be good news about the future competitivity of solar hydrogen! (11:10, EP 1.3)

Social Acceptance is today a keyword reflecting how renewable energies become part of our every-day life, but also concerned with eventual financial burden on the population. Sara Freitas of the University of Lisbon will share her views that still “solar literacy” can be detrimental to the success of PV, and how their SOLIS Solar platform demystifies erroneous perceptions and foster a spirit of solar citizenship towards a solar energy community using social networks and Gamification. We expect some insight into an issue of growing concern, in an age where misinformation can hamper larger societal projects. The platform uses today’s smartphone ecosystem with influencers, followers, chatrooms, posts and many interaction possibilities to discover solar photovoltaics in the city of Lisbon. We are excited about this at a time when we wanted to be with the EUPVSEC in Lisbon, but cannot. (11:30, EP 1.4)

Finally, for the role of “bellezza” for social acceptance, we invited a renowned architect known for its architectural solutions integrating PV into buildings. Beat Kämpfen, from the architectural firm Kämpfen, Zinke & Partner concludes the Plenary session with a presentation on “Photovoltaics, Architecture, People: How the Perception, Design and Use of Photovoltaics Changed over the Last Two Decades”.

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Certainly, he will show us much of visual proof that integration is a key to make this new energy technology not only acceptable to the society, but even more propose a new and visible “Energy-culture” for us and the next generation. (11:50, EP 1.5)


Dr. H. A. Ossenbrink
former Head of Unit, European Commission
EU PVSEC Executive Committee Member