Proposal for 2 GW solar PV manufacturing project to secure EU renewable hydrogen production at Hydrogen for Climate Conference

SolarPower Europe’s members, Meyer Burger and European Energy, with Ecosolifer, in partnership with Hydrogenics launch IPCEI proposal on Solar to Hydrogen

At the Hydrogen for Climate Conference, EU companies Hydrogenics (BE), Meyer Burger (DE), Ecosolifer (HU), and European Energy (DK) presented their joint proposal for the European Union’s Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI).

The project proposal entitled ‘Silver Frog’ foresees the construction of a cutting-edge 2 GW/year solar PV manufacturing facility. This factory would provide over 10 GW of installed PV capacity, also including wind, for the production of 100% renewable hydrogen, transported by gas pipelines to hard-to-decarbonise industries, such as steel and chemicals. Over a period of eight years, the project is estimated to produce 800,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen, and reduce 8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, each year – approximately the CO2 footprint of the whole city of Brussels. At least 6,000 jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project.

In the proposal, Belgium’s Hydrogenics Europe would supply the water electrolysis technology, Germany’s Meyer Burger would supply the solar PV manufacturing line, Hungary’s Ecosolifer would produce the modules and focus on heterojunction technology (HJT), while Denmark’s European Energy would act as the energy developer. SolarPower Europe would offer support to its members throughout the project.

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe said: “Solar is crucial in delivering fully renewable electricity throughout Europe. The ‘Silver Frog’ project reveals how solar can facilitate the development of renewable hydrogen. Further, this project’s emphasis on the integration of PV manufacturing facilities sends a strong signal to the European Commission that any discussions surrounding renewable hydrogen will require a robust renewable industrial strategy.”

Thomas Hengst, Head of Global Sales at Meyer Burger commented: “The ‘Silver Frog’ project has the aim of helping to deliver the EU’s Green Deal, with a focus on hard-to-decarbonise sectors. The crucial element of our project is to develop a new European manufacturing capacity for solar PV cells and modules. The new technology has been developed in Europe and has the potential to establish sustainable and globally-competitive solar cell and module production thanks to its very high efficiency. By focusing on the production and transportation of renewable hydrogen, we can address existing and future demand, as well as offering the concept as an integrated solution.”

The notion of Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) is laid down in Art. 107(3)(b) TFEU as part of the State aid rules. An IPCEI is a specific possibility to find aid compatible with the internal market.

The IPCEI on hydrogen includes eight ambitious proposals, all of which aim to develop the hydrogen sector, with projects surrounding the generation, transportation, and innovation of green hydrogen. The final selection for the IPCEI will take place in 2020.

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