European Parliament votes in favor of Net-Zero Industry Act

The European Parliament has approved the Net-Zero Industry Act, which now awaits formal adoption by the European Council to become law. The European Solar Manufacturing Council has welcomed the decision, saying that it “gives a green light for procurement of sustainable European-made solar panels.”

Members of European Parliament (MEPs) have formally agreed upon the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA), which is designed to help Europe manufacture at least 40% of its annual deployment needs of strategic technology products, including PV modules, batteries and heat pumps.

The legislation was approved by 361 votes to 121, with 45 abstentions. The NZIA will now have to be formally adopted by the European Council in order to become law. The council informally agreed upon it in February.

The NZIA mandates faster permitting procedures for all renewable and energy storage technologies and sets maximum timelines for projects to be authorized, depending on their scope and output. This work will be supported by the creation of Net-Zero Acceleration Valleys, where parts of the evidence collection for environmental assessments will be delegated to member states.

It also features mandatory non-price resilience and sustainability criteria to be applied in public procurements, auctions, and other forms of public intervention for net-zero products. Under these terms, a minimum of 30% of renewables projects awarded in public tenders must meet resilience criteria, or a maximum of 6 GW of auctions per nation per year.

The European Solar Manufacturing Council (ESMC) is among the entities that are backing the NZIA. The council’s policy director, Žygimantas Vaičiūnas, said the approval from MEPs gives a green light for the procurement of sustainable Europe-made solar panels.

“We urge the member states to start buying as from now, and not waiting for the time thresholds in the regulation,” Vaičiūnas said. “European solar PV manufacturers are ready to supply European buyers with top quality and the most sustainable European-made solar panels.”

A statement from the ESMC said that while the act should be entered into the official journal by June, member states can apply its provisions beforehand.

The ESMC added that it welcomes the introduction of non-price criteria, but noted that application of the provisions will only go into effect in 2026 and to a limited part of the European PV market, “as public procurements and auctions comprise [a] relatively small part of all PV deployments in the EU … Accordingly, most of the effect of the application of the NZIA provisions will depend on its earlier implementation and broader scope of application – extending beyond public procurements and auctions.”

Earlier this week, the European Parliament approved a law to ban products made using forced labor, which the ESMC had previously lobbied for.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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