Christian Westermeier

Vice President Marketing, Sales and Application Engineering Wacker Polysilicon and Chair of the Industrial Strategy workstream

1. Why is this workstream important? 


Annual PV installations in Europe have to increase from 26 GW in 2021 to more than 85 GW by 2030 to meet EU´s renewables targets. Today most PV products have to be imported from Asia. In order to have a regional, more balanced, PV Supply Chain and to create new jobs in the EU solar manufacturing sector, we have to rebuild at least 20 GW of European PV manufacturing capacity starting from polysilicon, to ingot/wafering, cell and module production. This target needs a dedicated and swiftly-implemented European industrial strategy for solar to revive solar manufacturing with global competitive OPEX and CAPEX support. This is what SPE’s industrial strategy workstream is pushing for and why it is so important.    

2. Why should companies join this workstream? 


Although the EU Commission has realized that solar is a key pillar for the Green Deal, we have to continue our battle for an European solar manufacturing sector. Still Europe is a leading R&D hub for solar, but we also need to quickly get these innovations into large scale manufacturing capacities. Within the European Solar Initiative, the first promising projects have been presented to attract EU funding and private investors. Within the workstream, solar companies join forces to have a more powerful position vis a vis the Commission and to push for a stronger engagement of the EU to support the revival of an EU solar manufacturing. This would also serve the target to have an EU solar industry complying with environmental and social standards in its production.     

3. What will the future of the Industrial Strategy Workstream look like? 


Our target should be to have a solar manufacturing capacity of app. 20 GW in Europe by 2025. There is still a long way to go, but the industrial interest is there. As the global market is not waiting for us, Europe has to act fast to achieve this target. Given the need of an annual installation of 85 GW by 2030, this is still a modest target but would be already a major milestone. This would create jobs, would secure solar R&D in Europe and makes the EU solar sector more resilient. The industrial workstream is a unique vehicle where R&D institutions, start-up companies and strong industrial players work together to define policies needed to develop a globally competitive EU solar sector and to get the EU COM to act accordingly. 

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