The World Trade Organization WTO and the International Renewable Energy Agency Irena recently released an industry manual that emphasizes the need for open trade policies and unified product standards to support the deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology.
The handbook states that assisting in expanding solar trade can promote environmental goals and support economic recovery after the Covid-19 crisis.
Solar photovoltaics have become the backbone of a low-carbon sustainable energy strategy. Between 2010 and 2018, the cost of photovoltaic power generation has dropped by 77%. The globalization of the solar photovoltaic market has always been the main factor driving the decline in technology prices because manufacturers are better able to source goods and services from competitive suppliers.
However, the manual pointed out that further support from trade policies and uniform product standards is needed to further reduce costs and create employment opportunities in the solar photovoltaic field. Although the average tariff on solar photovoltaic products is relatively low, there are still big differences among WTO members. For example, some tariffs on photovoltaic panels are as high as 15%.
The manual added that the consistency of product standards is also crucial for the global photovoltaic market to promote safe and inclusive trade in solar photovoltaic products and services.
International cooperation, from mutual recognition of standards and regulatory provisions in trade agreements to formal partnerships and regulatory coordination, can help companies seize trade opportunities and enable governments to develop sustainable energy systems.
It is estimated that by 2050, the number of employees in the global renewable energy sector will exceed 40 million.