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What Role Can Solar Energy Play In Enabling A Better Future And Meeting The UN Sustainable Development Goals?

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As this year's global health crisis has highlighted the need to accelerate the transition towards a decarbonized economy and secure a better future for all, solar photovoltaics (PV) has emerged not only as a cost-competitive source of energy but an attractive investment opportunity that offers diverse social, economic as well as environmental benefits at a global scale.

Solar is already strongly positioned in the cost competition with electricity generated from fossil fuels, as highlighted recently by the International Energy Agency in its World Energy Outlook 2020, which stated that in the most favorable conditions “solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history.” Policymakers, investors and consumers worldwide need to be aware of the vast array of positive impacts solar power can bring, from the health benefits that come with access to energy in poor, rural communities to the better quality of life and employment opportunities achievable in urban settings.

These topics will be addressed in the Global Solar Council's first Virtual Forum, a two-day online event on October 27 and 28 to showcase the enormous potential of solar power to bring about a clean, fair and sustainable future and enable quality employment in all regions of the world. Through a series of virtual sessions, the Global Solar Council will explore the vital contribution that solar PV can make - and in many cases is already making - towards achieving the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement and a wide range of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event will offer policy and industry insights into the kind of integrated action that needs to become a common playbook for a decade of action.

As an extension of this theme and in collaboration with SolarPower Europe, the GSC Virtual Forum will take a close look at the state of solar PV in Africa and the outlook for the continent's key markets, continuing the Global Solar Council's focus on emerging solar markets in 2020, which has spanned Latin America and South East Asia.

“By now, we are all familiar with the enormous importance of solar power in combatting climate change and transitioning to a decarbonized economy in coming decades,” said Gianni Chianetta, Global Solar Council Chairman. “But beyond protecting the climate and safeguarding the environment, the trajectory towards solar offers a host of other benefits: solar energy is vital not only for the Planet, but also for People and Prosperity.”

Among specific topics that will be addressed in the event is the question of solar jobs and the employment potentials stemming from green investments; the benefits of combining solar energy and efforts to ensure clean water in remote communities; the impacts of off-grid solar technologies; and the obstacles that need to be removed in order to release the vast potential of consumer investments in solar. These questions will be addressed by authoritative speakers from GSC members, partners and other organizations such as the UN Secretariat (Department of Social and Economic Affairs), International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), International Solar Energy Society (ISES), International Desalination Association (IDA), Climate Action Network International (CAN) and Energy Watch Group.

The session on October 28 will be dedicated to Africa. This part of the Forum will explore the potential for solar energy on the continent, including contributions from IRENA and the German Solar Association, and will hear from industry representatives in a variety of key markets: Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

For full details of the event and the agenda for the two days of sessions, see the following link: https://www.globalsolarcouncil.org/pages/global-solar-council-virtual-forum-2020/

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