CEM publishes findings of 2013 Public–Private Roundtables

02-07-2013, Washington DC, United States

At the fourth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) meeting in Delhi in April 2013, six public-private roundtables provided an opportunity for Ministers and high-level officials to engage in an open discussion with the private sector, NGO, and clean energy experts. A new report summarises their outcomes and recommendations in detail.

CEM is a high-level global forum to promote policies and programs that advance clean energy technology, to share lessons learned and best practices, and to encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy.

Participating governments account for 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent of global clean energy investment. They also fund the vast majority of public research and development in clean energy technologies.

The six roundtables at the CEM4 meeting in Delhi in April 2013 addressed the following topics:

  • reducing soft costs for solar PV (this session was hosted by IRENA and moderated by Martin Hiller, REEEP's DG)
  • enhancing energy management systems
  • financing renewables
  • increasing the deployment of clean vehicles
  • exploring viable business models for mini-grids
  • advancing power markets in emerging economies

Each of these gatherings was focused on generating concrete and actionable recommendations and informed policy makers and private-sector participants on key issues.  The CEM4 Roundtables Report was published on 2 July 2013 and gives a detailed summary of each of these sessions and their respective recommendations.

Solar PV: reducing soft costs

The session moderated by Martin Hiller and hosted by IRENA looked at reducing the soft costs of solar PV.  A range of high-level government speakers including Dr. Karsten Sach, Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation at Germany's Environment Ministry and Ratan Watal, Secretary at India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy engaged with private sector representatives such as Ardeshir Contractor, Managing Director and CEO of Kiran Energy and Ajay Goel, CEO of Tata Solar on the topic.

PV hardware costs have been sharply reduced over the last several decades, but the related "soft costs" for labour, permits,overhead and financing have not seen any similar dramatic declines.  Thus, they now account for a significant portion of solar deployment costs overall.
The roundtable participants made several key recommendations for reducing solar PV soft costs:

  • Build economies of scale and facilitate learning curves that reduce PV soft costs.
  • Foster the right fi nancing ecosystem to drive down the costs of capital for PV systems, including providing information to financial institutions about the real risks, costs, and benefits.
  • Establish a consistent and predictable policy framework to build market confidence.
  • Further analyze and identify additional areas for cutting soft costs and share the data.
  • Streamline administrative procedures, with a “onestop-shop” approach to permits.
  • Standardize technology testing and certification and set reliable minimum standards.
  • Build capacity for proper installation of PV systems in the construction trades.
  • Bundle projects and cooperate on research and development to mitigate risks and share the costs of learning.

“The roundtable provided a fascinating range of different angles on the problem of soft costs of solar PV." said Martin Hiller, REEEP's Director General, "Pulling all of those distinct views together at one table was immensely informative and valuable.”

The full publication outlining the outcomes of all six roundtables can be downloaded below.