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First EU Net-Zero Academy to Train 100,000 Workers in the Solar Photovoltaic Value Chain

EU Net-Zero Academy to Train 100,000 Workers in the Solar Photovoltaic Value Chain

The European Commission has launched the European Solar Academy, the first of several EU Academies under the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA). This initiative aims to develop the necessary skills along the net-zero technologies value chains. The primary goal of NZIA academies is to create learning content and programs in collaboration with the industry to ensure a skilled workforce in the value chain.



Net-Zero Academy: Training 100,000 Workers to Meet Solar PV Demand


In the solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing sector, the EU needs approximately 66,000 skilled workers by 2030 to meet its renewable energy targets and maintain industrial competitiveness. The Solar Academy intends to train 100,000 workers in the solar PV value chain over the next three years to address the existing labor and skills gap.


Following the European Battery Academy model, launched in 2022 for the battery value chain, the Solar Academy will design its learning content with industry input. It will develop learning credentials that certify the skills acquired during training, enhancing workforce mobility across the Single Market. Local partners such as Vocational and Educational Training (VET) providers, businesses, universities, and other education and training entities will deliver these programs.



Significant Financial Support and Implementation


The European Commission supports the European Solar Academy's launch with €9 million from the Single Market Programme. The European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) via its Knowledge and Innovation Community, EIT Innoenergy, will implement the project.


This initiative aligns with the EU's efforts to achieve its ambitious targets under the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU Plan, ensuring the industry's global competitiveness.



Ambitious Renewable Energy Targets


Under the revised Renewable Energy Directive, the EU targets a 43.5% renewable energy share by 2030, aiming to reach 45%. The EU solar energy strategy, adopted in May 2022 as part of the REPowerEU plan, aims to achieve over 320 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity by 2025 and nearly 600 GW by 2030.


The Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) aims to boost net-zero technology manufacturing in Europe to support the clean energy transition. The objective is to establish better conditions for net-zero projects in Europe and attract investments, aiming for at least 40% of the Union's deployment needs by 2030.


The Act includes measures for fast permitting procedures and innovation support, foreseeing the creation of Net-Zero Academies focusing on specific technologies to ensure skilled workforces in net-zero sectors.



Building on Previous Initiatives


The academies will leverage the analyses and experiences of the Large-Scale Skills Partnership for onshore renewable energy, including the solar sector. This partnership supports best practices exchange, data on skills gaps, and workforce skills needs in the renewable energy sector.


It also aims to guide public authorities, promote sector innovation, and make it more attractive to workers. Part of the EU Pact for Skills, this initiative trained 3.5 million people in 2022 and 2023.



Quotes from Key Figures


Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, emphasized the significance of boosting solar PV manufacturing in Europe for energy security, competitiveness, and resilience. He highlighted the Solar Academy's role in addressing the urgent skills gap and training a new generation of workers in the solar industry.


Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, noted that solar power is central to Europe's energy transition, with the potential to create thousands of jobs across the continent. The Net-Zero Academy will help European workers embrace this opportunity and support the ambitious REPowerEU goals.


The launch of the European Solar Academy marks a crucial step in the EU's efforts to achieve its renewable energy targets and ensure a skilled workforce in the solar PV value chain. By addressing the skills gap and promoting workforce mobility, the Academy aims to support the clean energy transition and bolster the EU's global competitiveness in the net-zero technologies sector.


For more information on the Net-Zero Industry Act and the European Solar Academy, visit the Net-Zero Industry Act.


 

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