European Solar Initiative – scaling up the solar PV industry value chain in Europe

Last February, SolarPower Europe and EIT InnoEnergy launched, together with Commissioners for Energy Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Industry Thierry Breton and Minister delegate for Industry of France Agnès Pannier-Runacher, a new European Solar Initiative. This initiative set the aspiring goal of redeveloping a 20-GW manufacturing capacity of solar PV technologies in Europe by 2025, unlocking €40bn of GDP annually and creating 400,000 new direct and indirect jobs across the PV value chain.

Since February, the Initiative has been running at full speed supporting different manufacturing projects across Europe. The investment pillar of the initiative, the Business Investment Platform, is accompanying a number of candidate projects for investment support. The industrial pillar, the Solar Manufacturing Accelerator, has organised regular discussions with different parts of the industry and promoted dialogue among industry partners.

Efforts are paying off, as various projects selected by the Accelerator in July 2021 had positive news to announce these last few months. For example, in May 2021 Meyer Burger inaugurated two production sites in Eastern Germany (Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony) with an annual capacity of 0.4 GW of solar cells and 0.4 GW of solar modules. Oxford PV (in Germany) announced a €8.8 million funding support from the Brandenburg Ministry of Economics to ramp up its German factory in 2022. NexWafe has finally announced the completion of a €10 million capital raise in February 2021 to ramp up its wafer production capacity in Germany.

Most impressively, in May 2021, the European Solar Initiative was formally welcomed and endorsed by the European Union in its updated New Industrial Strategy. In this strategic document, the European Commission identified solar PV, together with other renewable energy technologies, as one of the 14 key industrial ecosystems for the EU. It stressed the market opportunities and the strategic importance of building a sizeable EU PV manufacturing industry.

Photo: (c) Oxford PV

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