Comment on the current topics in the energy sector in Bulgaria.
The “Solar Academy Bulgaria” Association has now officially become a member of Solar Power Europe, an organization that represents the solar energy sector on a European scale.
This strategic partnership aligns with the objectives of the Solar Academy Bulgaria Association to expand its reach and collaboration within the European solar energy community. Solar Power Europe is a significant industry association that unites key stakeholders, including NGOs, businesses, policymakers, and researchers, with a common mission to advance the adoption of solar energy and shape supportive policies across Europe.
Through its affiliation with Solar Power Europe, the Solar Academy Bulgaria Association gains access to an extensive network of industry experts and a platform for advocacy, knowledge exchange, and policy formulation at the highest European echelons.
“We are thrilled to have become a member of Solar Power Europe and to be part of this dynamic community that propels the transition to renewable energy in Europe. This partnership will significantly enhance our ability to contribute to the growth of the solar energy sector in Bulgaria and establish meaningful collaborations at the European level. Membership in Solar Power Europe opens new avenues for the ‘Solar Academy Bulgaria’ Association to engage in European initiatives, projects, and working groups focused on research, development, and education in the field of solar energy,” stated Dr. Eng. Veselin Todorov, founder and chairman of the “Solar Academy Bulgaria” Association.
Solar Academy Bulgaria’s membership in Solar Power Europe underscores the shared vision of expediting the shift to clean energy and realizing a sustainable future.
The Association “Solar Academy Bulgaria” participated in the third edition of the Energy Transition seminar held in June. Representing the organization was Veselin Todorov, Ph.D., the chairman and founder of the Association.
The presentation delivered by Dr. Eng. Veselin Todorov focused on the crucial need for qualified personnel within the renewable energy sector. The discussion encompassed strategies for skills development, encompassing the implementation of diverse approaches and initiatives aimed at nurturing the growth of expertise. The topic delved into methods and programs designed to address the specific workforce requirements of the renewable energy field.
The presentation highlighted the significance of formulating strategies that effectively bridge these skill gaps, creating a substantial pool of proficient professionals within the realm of green energy.
Training and Internship Programs: These programs offer valuable on-the-job training and mentoring opportunities for individuals aspiring to pursue careers in the green energy field. They serve to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and the practical skills essential within the industry.
Collaboration with Educational Institutions: Forge partnerships with universities, colleges, and technical schools to seamlessly integrate renewable energy subjects into curricula. Develop specialized degree or certificate programs in green energy technologies to ensure graduates possess the requisite skills demanded by the industry.
Training Centers: The establishment of dedicated training centers provides hands-on experience and certifications in various renewable energy technologies. These centers furnish practical training in the installation, operation, and maintenance of renewable energy systems, thus bolstering the employability of new entrants.
Retraining and Upskilling Programs: Design programs catering to the transition of existing professionals from related industries into the green energy sector. By offering reskilling and upskilling opportunities, these programs address skill shortages while capitalizing on the expertise of the current workforce.
Industry-Oriented Skills Standards: Develop comprehensive skills and certification standards delineating the competencies requisite for distinct roles within the green energy sector. These standards align training initiatives with industry requisites and guarantee uniformity in workforce qualifications.
Public-Private Partnerships: Foster collaboration among governmental bodies, private enterprises, and industry associations to collectively devise and execute workforce development strategies. Such partnerships provide indispensable resources, funding, and expertise to support training endeavors in harmony with industry needs.
Promotion and Awareness Campaigns: Initiate campaigns aimed at promoting careers in the green energy sector and attracting a diverse talent pool. These campaigns spotlight the advantages of working in renewable energy, present success stories, and dispel misconceptions, thereby invigorating interest in the sector.
How to foster a robust and eco-friendly European industry? One of the solutions lies in the European Regulation for Net Zero Emission Industry. This critical topic was deliberated upon during a roundtable discussion held at the National Assembly, spearheaded by Tsvetelina Penkova, an MEP from the Group of the Progressive Alliance in the European Parliament, and Christian Vigenin, the deputy speaker of the parliament. Eminent figures from regulatory bodies, institutions, industry, and academia lent their insights to the conversation.
The roundtable saw participation from delegates representing the Association “Solar Academy Bulgaria,” the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, metallurgical and cement industry associations, KNSB, the Institute for Energy Management, energy regulators, the Electricity System Operator, the non-ferrous metals industry, electricity distribution companies, the construction sector, and academia.
Setting the tone for the discussion, MEP Tsvetelina Penkova remarked, “Europe is at the forefront of innovation and new industry development. Unlike the past, our energy resources are finite. It is now imperative to seek long-term sustainable solutions.” She highlighted that legislation for net zero emissions industry is already in progress in the European Parliament, designed to bolster clean technology production within the EU. This legislative endeavor aims to attract investments, enhance market access for clean technologies, stimulate job creation, and spawn new industries. Furthermore, it is poised to heighten EU industry competitiveness and contribute to energy independence efforts.
Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly, Christian Vigenin, emphasized the significance of the unprecedented meeting between representatives from the European Parliament and the Bulgarian National Assembly. This collaboration seeks to synchronize legislative initiatives at the European and national levels, ensuring that Bulgarian interests are safeguarded in the decision-making process. Vigenin pledged the National Assembly’s vigilance and commitment to overseeing the implementation of this legislative package, fostering accountability, and aligning executive power positions with Bulgarian priorities.
MEP Tsvetelina Penkova outlined her objectives as the rapporteur for the legislation, emphasizing the imperative that by 2030, a minimum of 40% of the Union’s strategic technological capacity for producing zero net emissions technologies and components must be cultivated within the EU. Penkova underscored her dedication to advocating for the domestic production of a comprehensive range of technologies, including photovoltaics, heat pumps, batteries, electrolyzers, wind installations, sea-based renewable sources, power network technologies, sustainable fuels, and nuclear power generation technologies, with the list expanding as new innovations emerge.
Dr. Eng. Veselin Todorov, the founder and chairman of the Association “Solar Academy Bulgaria,” participated in a round table during the third edition of the Green Transition event.
In his capacity as the Chairman of the Management Board of the Association “Solar Academy Bulgaria,” Dr. Eng. Veselin Todorov took part in the round table to discuss issues and proposals from businesses in the renewable energy sector. During the discussion, he put forward several proposals, including:
Establishing a rapid, accessible, and administratively streamlined process for installing photovoltaic plants on the roofs and facades of multi-family residential buildings.
Introducing the NET METERING mechanism, which would allow consumers generating their own energy but unable to store it, to utilize the generated electricity at any time.
Rectifying Ordinance 6 concerning the connection of energy producers and customers to transmission or distribution networks. The current regulation does not align with new technologies, often hindering the connection of renewable energy sites.
Creating a mechanism to safeguard investments in renewable energy. Ambiguities in procedures, outdated legal provisions, and varying interpretations by different institutions and energy distribution companies lead to delays, non-realization, or financial losses for investors.
Reforming the Law on Energy from Renewable Sources (REEE) and introducing minimum standards and requirements for RES installers (such as photovoltaic plants) in Bulgaria. This includes categorizing plants based on type, installation method, and capacity. Establishing a professional register of renewable energy installers in Bulgaria and a register of built photovoltaic plants to ensure safe maintenance of the power transmission system.
Advocating for policies and effective mechanisms that encourage training and career opportunities in the renewable energy sector. Prioritizing state support for schools and universities providing education for RES specialists. Identifying renewable energy specialties and professions.
This year, the Green Transition forum’s organizers expanded the dialogue to focus on the necessity for cooperation and connectivity among Central and Eastern European countries in the transition to low-carbon economies and sustainable development. The event aims to foster the exchange of best practices and innovative solutions within the context of the Green Transformation of industries, green finance, and innovation development.
The demand for personnel in the renewable energy sector is projected to rise. Dr. Eng. Veselin Todorov, the chairman of “Solar Academy Bulgaria,” highlighted this at the inaugural career exhibition and professional development forum in the renewable energy industry – “Recharge Your Career.”
At the event, Vasimir Radulov, co-founder of the Balkan Hydrogen Cluster, noted that Bulgaria is currently at the forefront of hydrogen technology across the Balkan Peninsula. He also highlighted the innovative use of hydrogen as a fuel in our country, positioning it ahead of regulatory developments worldwide.
The renewable energy industry, interim government, governmental bodies, and educational institutions are forging closer collaboration to cultivate a skilled workforce. “Green professions” represent the future, and the training of experts holds paramount importance not only for sectoral development but also for achieving the state’s energy objectives. Quality personnel will serve as the impetus behind the energy transition process, a crucial endeavor for Bulgaria. These insights emerged during the inaugural edition of the “Recharge Your Career” career forum, which provided numerous young talents aspiring to make their mark in the renewable energy sector with the chance to glean wisdom from seasoned experts in the field.
A distinguished guest, Natalia Efremova, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy, emphasized the necessity for a concerted effort between businesses and the government in transitioning to renewable energy sources. “Innovation must be spearheaded by businesses. They possess expertise and drive new knowledge. Without coordination between the private sector and the state, progress remains elusive,” she emphasized.
Dr. Eng. Veselin Todorov, Chairman of the “Solar Academy Bulgaria” association and co-organizer of the forum, also underscored the collective approach’s significance. “For the recovery and resilience plan to succeed, collaboration among businesses, government, education, and the media is imperative. Only through this synergy can we achieve shared green objectives.”
Maxim Behar, CEO of M3 Communications Group, Inc. and co-organizer of the “Recharge Your Career” career forum, noted, “While sourcing qualified personnel poses challenges across various modern sectors, the demand for individuals eager to thrive in the RES industry is becoming increasingly palpable. Therefore, through this forum, we aim to address this personnel shortage in the rapidly evolving renewable energy sector.”
“Recharge Your Career” brought together businesses, institutions, and job seekers with the objective of fostering deeper dialogue among the RES industry, education, and institutions to collaboratively devise innovative and practical approaches to learning and green solutions creation.
The inaugural forum edition was held in general partnership with CSL Installers, and the principal partner was HRS Bulgaria. VVT Engineering, Solaris Montage, and Hecsolar were also event partners.
The event received special support from New Bulgarian University, the Interuniversity Center for Career Development at UNSS, Technical University – Sofia, Technical University – Gabrovo, Ruse University “Angel Kanchev,” Faculty of Economics at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski,” and Professional High School of Electrical Engineering and Electronics – Plovdiv.
Media backing for the inaugural career forum dedicated to the RES industry was provided by: BTA, Telegraf, Banker.bg, Econ.bg, and Novinite.bg.
An event titled “Green Energy for Business – Benefits and Financing” will be held on Wednesday, February 8th, at 4:30 p.m. The event is organized by the Association “Solar Academy Bulgaria” in collaboration with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and the Municipality of Elin Pelin. It will take place on the 1st floor of the Elin Pelin Municipality building, in the hall of the Municipal Council.
The event aims to provide information about energy efficiency programs for businesses and citizens. The main topics to be discussed include the advantages of solar energy for businesses, the stages and challenges in constructing solar power plants, and the financing options available through various European programs.
This event is intended for investors, companies, organizations, and citizens interested in building photovoltaic plants and achieving energy independence. Industry experts specializing in financing, design, and construction of photovoltaic plants will share valuable insights into the construction process, financing opportunities through European programs, and potential risks associated with this type of investment.
Dr. Eng. Veselin Todorov, a prominent expert in photovoltaic plant design and construction, and founder and chairman of the Association “Solar Academy Bulgaria,” will discuss the benefits of renewable energy sources and key considerations when building solar plants. Galya Menova, owner of “HUMANCONSULTING” EOOD, and an expert in European programs and projects, will shed light on upcoming funding opportunities under the Recovery and Sustainability Plan. Rositsa Chopeva, a seasoned financial expert with over a decade of experience in project financing for photovoltaic plants and a partner at xFigureFinance, will cover topics related to non-European financing and potential investor benefits. Stoyanka Kitik from Inteko Invest will present the opportunities under the Recovery and Sustainability Plan and the Rural Development Program (2023 – 2027). Tsvetan Simeonov, Chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), will also contribute to the discussions.
The event is open to all and admission is free. It welcomes individuals interested in investing in solar systems.
The procedures for the construction of small photovoltaic plants have been simplified by introducing a real notification regime. Power plants for own use will be built without a building permit when installing power up to 20KW.
“We have been expecting this change since 2018. Since then, the directive has been to ease the regime. In the West this is happening, in Bulgaria 5 years later there is progress. The change is entirely in the service of the public, and in particular of residential users, as it enables residential users to put their photovoltaic plants on the roofs without the need to wait for the long and cumbersome procedure for a building permit”, explained Eng. Veselin Todorov – Chairman of the Solar Academy Bulgaria Association.
This opens up a considerable market both for the installation of photovoltaic plants and for the independence of household users from the energy transmission system.
“Until now, the procedure has been difficult and complicated. And the most complicated part was related to obtaining the so-called construction permit, since the photovoltaic plants in Bulgaria have until now been subject to a construction permit, regardless of whether they are 1, 2, 5 or 100 KW”, added Engineer Veselin Todorov.
The Council of Branch Organizations at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is hosting an event titled “Solar Energy for Business – Implementation Stages and Financing Opportunities.” The hybrid event is scheduled for January 25, from 15:00 to 17:00, taking place in hall “A” at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), as well as being broadcast online.
The event will commence with opening remarks from Tsvetan Simeonov, Chairman of the Management Board of BCCI, and Gena Sabeva, Chairman of the Council of Branch Organizations at BCCI. Denitsa Nikolova and Maria Hristova from EUConsult.BG, a pioneering company, will discuss the fundamental prerequisites for companies to develop projects under the European program “Construction of New RES for Own Consumption in Combination with Local Energy Storage Facilities in Enterprises” in Bulgaria. They specialize in preparing and managing projects for grant funding from national and European sources.
Attendees will gain insights into the solar power plant construction process, along with associated risks and challenges, through presentations by Rositsa Chopeva and Roza Ivanova from xFigureFinance. This independent consulting firm boasts a decade of experience in the RES sector and involvement in projects with an installed capacity exceeding 400 MWp across Bulgaria and neighboring countries.
Eng. Veselin Todorov, Chairman of the Association “Solar Academy Bulgaria,” a renewable energy expert, and owner of VVT Engineering, will provide practical insights into the advantages of constructing photovoltaic plants. He will present real-world examples and address administrative steps and potential obstacles encountered during the photovoltaic plant construction process.
The event, “Solar Energy for Business – Implementation Stages and Financing Opportunities,” targets investors, companies, and organizations interested in establishing photovoltaic plants and achieving energy independence. Field experts specializing in financing, design, and construction of photovoltaic plants will deliver valuable insights into the various phases of solar plant construction, current financing opportunities through European programs, and potential challenges associated with this type of investment.