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European photovoltaic manufacturing: scaling up and innovating!

European photovoltaic manufacturing: scaling up and innovating!

Jan 16, 2024

An updated report from the European Photovoltaic Technology and Innovation Platform (ETIP PV) points out that Europe must find a balance between the need to rapidly expand photovoltaic capacity and innovation to maintain competitiveness.



The white paper "PV Manufacturing in Europe: Ensuring Resilience through Industrial Policy" is an update to the previous white paper written in May 2023 and explores some of the challenges faced by policymakers in the area of resilience in solar manufacturing within Europe.


ETIP PV believes that if expanding scale and improving cost competitiveness are the top priorities for the industry's short-term resilience, then for the long-term resilience of the European photovoltaic market, investment in research, innovation and high-quality products and achieving large-scale launch are equally important.


In December 2022, the European Commission launched the European Solar PV Industry Alliance, signaling its ambition to expand internal solar capacity. At that time, the alliance’s goal was to achieve an annual production capacity of 30GW across the entire value chain by 2025.


Support for European solar equipment manufacturers is needed due to a lack of gigawatt-scale integrated PV manufacturing in Europe, increasing competition from Asian equipment manufacturers and technology solutions around investment in R&D, the report said.


Risks become very common if you choose a technology with low market penetration or invest in developing equipment that will not generate turnover. Therefore, solar companies must eliminate risk factors and commit to investing in the future development of their products and services, ETIP PV said.


The main challenge for policymakers and solar industry stakeholders is how to effectively implement resilience requirements while taking into account the impact of these measures on new investments within Europe and the cost of new PV projects in this region.


Since photovoltaic technology cycles are short, in five years or less new technologies may become available and investments in then-current technologies may become obsolete or, at least in terms of performance, unable to compete at the same level.


In addition, the report highlights the current industrial policy challenges facing Europe, namely how the PV industry can keep pace with emerging new technologies such as perovskites.


"In the next few years, Europe needs to make concerted efforts to transform its leading position in perovskite innovation over the years into industry competitiveness and lay the foundation for the sustainable development of the entire European photovoltaic industry."

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