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Solar trade body launches digitalisation commitments to ‘aid energy transition’

European solar trade association SolarPower Europe has launched a series of commitments on digitalisation, a process which it said would aid Europe’s transition to a more digitalised energy system.

The seven commitments have been identified by the trade body to determine how Europe’s burgeoning solar industry could best collectively benefit the furthering of distributed generation and follows on from the creation of a digitalisation and solar task force in December 2016.

Incorporating the likes of prosumer choice, smart and stable grids and peer-to-peer energy exchanges, the commitments have been drawn up using recommendations from SPE members.

The task force will, in the future, move to promote transparency for prosumers; explore innovative solutions such as blockchain; collaborate with distribution network operators (DNOs) to make local grids more flexible; and encourage interoperability between software and hardware manufacturers.

Another central tenet of the commitments is data protection and cybersecurity, an issue which has become more prevalent following recent high-profile cyber-attacks. SPE will recommend that all companies within the solar industry implement state-of-the-art data protection and stringent cybersecurity measures.

Earlier this month a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that C&I energy users were becoming increasingly concerned by data breaches from utility firms, with nearly two-thirds of UK businesses stating that they would switch supplier if they fell victim to cyber attack.

Alison Finch, chief marketing officer at inverter manufacturer Huawei and member of the digitalisation task force, said the commitments were “both progressive and substantial”.

“The commitments demonstrate a willingness to innovate and develop throughout the entire value chain. Digitalisation will make solar more cost effective, reliable and secure. Whether it be blockchain-based peer-to-peer exchanges, cybersecurity or smart grids, we will implement the highest standards and promote transparency and choice for prosumers,” she said.