Home Technology Europe could have 30GW of production PV capacity by 2025.

Europe could have 30GW of production PV capacity by 2025.

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Europe could have 30GW of production PV capacity by 2025.

Photovoltaic industry needs legislative support to boost European manufacturing (Photo: CC0 Public Domain)

Europe could deploy 30 gigawatts of photovoltaic production capacity by 2025, claims a report by the European Photovoltaic Industry Alliance (ESIA). The achievement will become a reality if the right “industrial and political conditions” are met. And there are several of them.

The forecast came from data collected by ESIA from its members following the Intersolar Europe conference in Munich, which ended on June 20. There, the alliance showed more than 20 projects for photovoltaic production capacity. All of them are waiting “in line” to be put into operation.

According to SolarPower Europe’s PV Production Map, Europe currently has just 9.4 GW of solar module production capacity. The majority of this capacity is formed by small megawatt-scale generation factories. Projects for PV plants with a gigawatt capacity are rare.

To achieve the desired scale by 2025, political support will be essential, ESIA says. In other words, legislative changes and initiatives will be sought. This will be necessary for European supply chains to become competitive with international ones in a market environment heavily dominated by China and Southeast Asia.

To help achieve the 30 GW capacity target, ESIA has established four working groups led by leading industry players. Their work will be part of an action plan that covers the entire photovoltaic chain. The tasks are focused on four aspects: non-price conditions (policies to shape demand), supply chain, financing and skills.

Non-price incentives

“We are working… to define a set of non-price criteria that provide effective market signals for solar systems produced in Europe, while at the same time not affecting the pace and profitability of solar PV deployment,” said Jörg Ebel and Pierre-Emmanuel Martin, who co-chaired the first working group. It is now ready with a proposal for specific criteria and indicators that can be used to determine so-called best-in-class PV – and how this can be linked to bonus points in large public procurement and specific tenders .

As part of the groups’ work, it is envisaged to study the sustainability, carbon footprint, recyclability and social and governance aspects of the production of photovoltaic technologies, as well as innovation, system integration and durability. Each of these areas will have a certain weight in the formula for determining the standard for the best solar projects. The standard itself will be grounds for “favorable treatment” in tenders.

Supply chain

The Supply Chain Working Group will focus on enabling the building of a reliable European supply chain. Its special task is to ensure that sufficient funding is available for each link in the chain. The report states that Europe’s supply strength is its sustainability – both environmental and social. However, this has not translated into a market advantage – at least not yet.

New norms will be needed to emphasize and strengthen this aspect of supply. In this way, Europe can put pressure on world markets. As an example, ESIA pointed to “the need for more comprehensive legislation against the large proportion of solar glass imported from China that is not recyclable”. According to the intended regulatory changes, this should prove to be a weakness that deprives the product of its advantage when it is offered on the European market.

Special rates for the PV industry

ESIA has also hinted that it will seek legislative changes on energy pricing for the PV industry. The argument – because it is one of the “strategically important” in Europe.

“Current energy prices in Europe are 3-5 times higher than those in the US and China. Thus, almost 100% of the substrates and glass used to manufacture photovoltaics are produced in China. In order for the photovoltaic industry to establish itself in Europe, especially the energy-intensive stages of production, energy for such industries must be available at an internationally competitive level.”

Financial extras

The solar industry will also ask for financial help. ESIA cited the US Deflation Act and India’s Manufacturing Business Incentive Scheme as examples. Christian Westermeier, Chairman of the Financial Task Force, explained: “Similar to the US IRA or the Indian PLI, the European PV manufacturing sector needs competitive OPEX and CAPEX support tools to have predictability and a solid business case for potential large-scale investments in PV manufacturing in Europe”.

Work force

Lack of skilled labor is another problem of the photovoltaic industry. Now she has a plan to deal with him too. ESIA will thus work a project to cultivate a “larger workforce” in solar energy. Both the PV industry itself and governments in Europe need a better understanding of the workforce needed in the sector, the industry body said.

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