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Industrial Strategy for Solar Key to Reigniting European Solar PV Manufacturing


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In light of the upcoming communication on Industrial Strategy within the European Green Deal policy framework, which will spell out the EU’s long-term vision on industrial competitiveness, growth and innovation, Germany’s VDMA (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association), one of Europe’s largest industry associations, with its sector group Photovoltaics Equipment, is the latest signee of a joint letter that calls for the Commission to put in place a comprehensive industrial strategy for solar. This would recognise the European solar industry as a Strategic Value Chain, opening up new opportunities for solar, such as the Strategic Forum on IPCEIs.

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Dr Jutta Trube, Vice Managing Director Electronics, Micro and New Energy Production Technologies & Division Manager Photovoltaic Equipment at VDMA, said: “Solar PV energy generation is one of the most cost-effective sources of electricity in Europe and in many parts of the world, and in the near future it will be the largest power generation source. As a clean and scalable technology, it is in a perfect position to deliver the European Green Deal. In fact, Europe has a long history when it comes to solar, as it was European research institutes and developers that led the world in solar innovation. To safeguard Europe’s security of energy supply and ensure energy self-sufficiency, we need to strengthen the industrial capacity of European solar manufacturers. An industrial strategy for solar is thus of critical strategic importance for a green Europe.”

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Dr Peter Fath, Managing Director of RCT Solutions GmbH and Chairman of the Board of VDMA Photovoltaic Equipment, commented: “European solar PV production can be profitable. A recent study from VDMA together with the German solar research institute Fraunhofer ISE, shows that solar PV manufacturing in Europe and Germany can be highly competitive if the size of the production fab is appropriate. To further boost solar manufacturing in Europe, a comprehensive and EU-wide industrial strategy for solar must be implemented. As European solar equipment manufacturers, we at VDMA are ready to contribute to the EU’s energy and climate targets.”

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, said: “The European Commission’s industrial policy represents a unique opportunity for the solar industry. With a new industrial strategy for solar, the EU can take global leadership on the existing and next generation of solar technologies, manufacturing, and services. A recent JRC study found that the European manufacturing chain could increase its competitiveness with an annual gigawatt production volume. With an industrial strategy in place we can make this happen and create sustainable high-tech jobs at companies that will be able to benefit from Europe’s world-leading solar research centres.”

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