EuropeOn’s new Secretary General, Julie Beaufils, was interviewed for the first episode of SolarPower Europe’s new podcast series titled #ShineOnSolar.
In this podcast, she talked about how electrical contractors -mostly SMEs- are facing the current Covid-19 crisis, and how it affects PV installation. She also expressed the sector’s push for a #GreenRecovery, which is a crucial driver for jobs in the energy transition. She advocated for EuropeOn’s #Skills4Climate, as climate and skills must be intertwined to achieve a climate neutral and jobs-driven Europe.
The Covid19 crisis has severely impacted the electrical contracting sector across Europe, with severity depending on countries. For instance, almost all construction sites have been closed for weeks in several Member States. Moreover, installation or maintenance of solar panels in private households have become almost impossible.
The economic choc that electrical contractors are suffering will have a strong effect on the economy as a whole, because this sector comprises over 300.000 business and 1.8 million professionals in Europe.
Electrical contractors are particularly exposed for two main reasons. First: most of them are small companies, struggling wish cash flow issues; second: their activity comes at the very end of the supply chain, which makes it dependent on the activity of other actors in Covid times.
Mrs. Beaufils insisted on the best practices and FAQs that electrical contractors and their associations put in place to keep on working when it was possible and safe. She also highlighted that many associations proposed new and enriched content for online training.
Such initiatives echo with EuropeOn’s Skills4Climate campaign, aiming to intertwine action and investment for both climate and skills. Electrical contractors are aware of the potential and challenge that skills shortage is bringing to their sector. For example, in solar energy: if we consider the 32% renewables target for 2030 (which will probably be increased), and if we assume that PV will cover a conservative 10%, it means that about 12 million installations will have to take place. This implies to install 3.000 PVs per day for the next 10 years! But who will do the work? Without enough skilled installers, there will be no deployment of those technologies, and no ensuing emissions reductions.
You can access the podcast (roughly 13 minutes) here.