March 25 (Renewables Now) – Spanish photovoltaic (PV) association Union Espanola Fotovoltaica (UNEF) is asking the government to consider declaring the solar sector’s activity strategic in the event it decides to toughen the measures to keep the novel coronavirus from spreading.
In a post on Tuesday, UNEF said that it is essential to keep the PV business activity going because it will allow construction of new projects to move along, which is key to achieving climate targets. Additionally, solar farms in operation can continue to supply electricity.
Per the organisation, PV companies are making significant efforts to ensure their operations run smoothly across the entire value chain while also taking all steps to minimise the impact of the coronavirus disease COVID-19.
To protect the health of their employees, companies are keeping only minimal staff at construction sites and make sure that workers are locally sourced to avoid commute from other regions.
There are also efforts under way to arrange that professionals in the operation and maintenance (O&M) segment use personal vehicles with a single occupant and are given protection gear, such as face masks and gloves.
Elsewhere in the Spanish PV business, office staff is working remotely, installers of the self-generation systems have stopped making trips to avoid exposure to the virus, while the performance of solar panels is monitored via online tools.
UNEF further argued that the PV sector is important for the Spanish economy — it employs more than 29,000 people and contributes more that EUR 5 billion (USD 5.4bn) to the country’s GDP, according to the organisation’s own figures from 2018.
In the first three months of 2020, PV parks generated 2,354 GWh of clean power, UNEF added.
(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.09)