La Unión Española Fotovoltaica (UNEF) is the trade association for solar energy in Spain. Representing 250 companies and more than 85% of the sector's activity, UNEF acts as a spokesperson for virtually all industry producers, installers, engineers, manufacturers, distributors and consultants.
Ahead of The Global Power and Energy Exhibition (GPEX), the team at GPEX News spoke with Jorge Barredo, President of UNEF, to hear more about how solar is developing and driving the energy transition.
GPEX News: How does solar energy development help drive the global energy transition?
Jorge Barredo: Solar energy is a key ally in the global energy transition, as not only it is a clean source of energy, but it also very competitive, thanks to the dramatic cost reduction that has characterized its evolution in the past years. Also, PV technology is flexible, therefore it can be implemented both at utility-scale and at a smaller scale, in the residential market. With this respect, self-consumption is a central element in a distributed-generation model, as it enables the users to generate and consume their own energy, becoming active actors in the fight against climate change.
GPEX News: The Spanish solar energy sector has been booming recently; why do you think that is?
Jorge Barredo: After a few years of paralysis caused by the retroactive measures introduced in 2012, the Spanish solar energy sector is now starting to flourish again. Thanks to the level of competitiveness reached by PV and the auctions carried out last year in Spain, where PV sector was assigned a total of 3.9 GW, the sector is ready to move forward. Also, the sector is starting to explore new ways of development besides the auctions, that are going merchant and signing PPAs.
GPEX News: What are the challenges and opportunities of developing new solar projects in Spain?
Jorge Barredo: The solar sector has a high potential in Spain, given the abundance of the natural resource – the sun – and the valuable know-how that Spanish PV companies have developed over the past years. The main challenges are related to the uncertain policy framework, where certain key parameters (such as the “guaranteed profitability” for PV projects) can be changed periodically in the law. These changes, together with the introduction of retroactive measures in 2012, create a context of instability and uncertainty.
GPEX News: How can governments and regulators encourage innovation in solar energy technology?
Jorge Barredo: Governments and regulators can foster innovation in solar energy technology by:
GPEX News: UNEF is a partner of GPEX 2018 next September in Barcelona, what do you expect the outcomes of the event to be?
Jorge Barredo: We expect GPEX 2018 to be a vibrant event where meaningful discussions can be made around the key role of the power sector in the energy transition and where a specific roadmap for this transition can be designed so that we can win the fight against climate change.
The Global Power and Energy Exhibition, taking place in Barcelona on 17-20 September, will showcase the strategies and technologies needed to adapt to the global energy transition. Would you like the opportunity to speak at the event? Submit your abstract today.