In the EU, the production of solar cells, solar modules and other photovoltaic components is to be greatly expanded by 2025. Brussels wants to see a total of 30 gigawatts of production capacity for each product group built up by then. To this end, a European alliance for the solar industry will promote investments in large-scale factories.
Sixfold increase in production capacity
The 30 gigawatts would be six times the 4.5 gigawatts of production capacity that currently exists in Europe, according to Solar Power Europe. To that end, the European industry association is proposing a special solar fund that the PV industry alliance can also use to finance the new factories. “The EU Solar PV Industry Alliance is the birth of European manufacturing,” says Dries Acke, head of policy at Solar Power Europe. “The alliance means funding can flow to the right projects, but we will be brought to our knees if we don’t have a dedicated solar fund that the alliance can use,” he stresses.
Europe must keep up
Still, it’s a first step in the right direction that comes at an opportune moment. Because in view of the energy and climate crisis, global competition for the construction of solar cells and solar modules is getting tougher and tougher, industry representatives from Brussels emphasize. This is demonstrated by the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which also aims to support the development of in-house module production in the United States. To ensure that Europe does not come away empty-handed in this race, the industry needs financial support to build up production capacity more quickly.
Over 100,000 jobs in production
The 30 gigawatts are, after all, equivalent to about 75 percent of the solar modules needed each year in Europe to meet demand. This is currently on the rise, due to the rate of inflation, driven primarily by fossil fuel prices. But there is also a side effect. That’s because the 30 gigawatt manufacturing capacity would also create more than 100,000 jobs in manufacturing alone. Add to that another million or so jobs at installation and maintenance companies, as Solar Power Europe industry representatives have calculated.
On 9 December 2022, the European Commission launched the European Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Industry Alliance at a high-level conference in Brussels.
EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton hosted the conference and formally presented the alliance, followed by opportunities to discuss the main issues the alliance will address. A series of high-level speakers from across the solar PV industrial value chain, the European Investment Bank and EU countries featured in the panel discussions. For more information on the new industry alliance, visit the European Commission’s website. (hcn/su)
Did you miss that? “Scaling up is key”