Horse and windmill against backdrop of clouds.

Renewable energy

The European Union has set out plans for a new energy strategy based on a more secure, sustainable and low-carbon economy. It has committed itself to achieve at least 27% share of renewables by 2030 with the aim of encouraging private investment in infrastructure and low-carbon technologies. More renewable energy will enable the EU to cut greenhouse emissions and make it less dependent on imported energy. And boosting the renewables industry will encourage technological innovation and employment in Europe.

The Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) requires that renewables make up at least 20% of the energy mix by 2020. Each Member State has mapped out a strategy for achieving this target in a renewable energy action plan. Implementation of these is monitored by the European Commission. In parallel the EU promotes coordinated R&D policies in order to help develop and implement these renewable technologies.

The JRC undertakes a range of in-house research, monitoring and modelling activities to support the EU policies aimed at substantially increasing the share of renewables in the energy supply system. It provides technical and scientific advice, and produces up-to-date reports on renewable energy technologies. 

Solar energy

Sunlight is our largest clean energy source for heat or electricity. Solar energy technologies include both solar thermal electricity and solar photovoltaics. The focus of the JRC's work is to:
  • promote a fair and transparent EU market for photovoltaics and support innovative technological solutions,
  • assess the development of industry and market, and the contribution of the sector to achieving the EU targets for renewable energy
The JRC runs the European Solar Test Installation (ESTI), a reference laboratory for assessing the performance of emerging and innovative photovoltaic technologies. 
The Photovoltaic Geographical Information System (PVGIS) is a free web service for solar energy resource and the potential PV electricity output at any location in in Europe, Africa and large parts Asia. 

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Strategic Energies Technologies Information System – Solar photovoltaic

Strategic Energies Technologies Information System – Concentrated solar power

Renewable energy resource assessment

Renewable energy production is based on the collection and exploitation of forms of energy that are scarce by nature. A careful and robust assessment of the raw resources potentially available and their practical exploitability is crucial in order to provide policy makers with realistic quantitative data on which renewable energy policies have to be based. For this reason an extensive work on assessing and mapping renewable energy raw resources has been initiated in the JRC.

The JRC is assessing the current EU resources for the main forms of renewable energies (biomass, wind, solar, hydro, etc.) and evaluating the impact of environmental, technical and economical constraints to the final production of renewables. In addition, it produces scenarios of the evolution of raw resources availability and assesses resources for other regions of the world (e.g. Africa), in the international cooperation framework.

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Alternative Fuels (ALFA)

Photovoltaic Geographical Information System (PVGIS)

Renewable Energy Monitoring in Europe and Africa

African Renewable Energy Technology Platform (AFRETEP)

Bioenergy and biofuels

Bioenergy is seen as an important contributor to meeting the targets set by the Renewable Energy Directive (20% share of renewable energy over total EU consumption by 2020), and therefore complementary to other low carbon energy alternatives. The European Commission has also proposed that 10% of the transport sector’s final energy consumption in 2020 should come from renewable energy sources. Biofuels are expected to play an important role to achieve this target.

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Biofuels and bioenergy

Techno-economic analysis of all forms of low carbon renewable energies

The JRC performs in-depth analyses of the current states and potential of all forms of renewable energy, considering also the smart-grid and storage technologies needed to achieve large-scale deployment in the energy system. The Strategic Energy Technology Information System (SETIS) provides a one-stop portal for accessing this information. Other key deliverables in this area include the annual PV status report, and annual renewable energy snapshots, assessment of the implementation of the National Renewable Energy Action Plans, databases on geographical availability and potential for exploitation, and the integration of this information with JRC techno-economic modelling tools.



JRC Institutes