SolarPower Europe’s 5th High-Level Industrial Forum – Turning Point For Solar PV Industry

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At the return of Intersolar this week, key representatives of the solar industry gathered for SolarPower Europe’s 5th High Level Industrial Forum. This discussion comes at a turning point for the industry, following SolarPower Europe’s launch of the European Solar Initiative with our partner EIT InnoEnergy, and the inclusion of the solar industry as one of the 14 key priorities within the EU Industrial Strategy.

Executives from Meyer Burger, SOLARWATT, Norwegian Crystals, and Invest.nl reflected on the fast and promising development of the industry: the scale up to a 1.4 GW cell and module manufacturing capacity for Meyer Burger, the opening of a new manufacturing line by SOLARWATT, and the recent decision to reinvest into a 10 GW ingot production capacity by Norwegian Crystals. They presented a positive outlook for the industry, provided the right policies are in place to facilitate rapid scaling-up.

In his concluding remarks, a newly re-elected member of the Bundestag for the SPD, Timmon Gremmels, delivered a message of support to the solar manufacturing industry. Mr. Gremmels reiterated the need to reach more than 150 GW of solar capacity by 2030 in Germany while stressing that the energy transition must be an economic and industrial story for the entire European continent.

Timmon Gremmels, MdB, said: “The energy transition not only serves to protect the climate but is also of great importance in terms of economic and labour policy. To be more resilient to shocks in the supply chain, and to strengthen added value in Europe, the photovoltaic industry must rebuild production in Europe to a considerable extent.”

Mr. Gremmels added: “It is the job of the new German government to expand solar energy rapidly to 10 GW, then 15 GW per year, so that more than 150 GW installed capacity will be reached in Germany by 2030.”

Moritz Borgmann, Managing Director, Meyer Berger, said:  “The time is now to rebuild a resilient European PV manufacturing ecosystem, with a technological edge to ensure competitiveness. This requires the pull from industrial players along the value chain, and the determination of policy makers to support the strategic independence of our energy infrastructure”. 

Dr. Armin Froitzheim, CTO, SOLARWATT, said:  “We have just launched some large projects, like Meyer Burger and others, in order to reach a PV value chain of 20 GW in Europe by 2025.  To reach the target in time, we urgently need to look at the whole value chain, and create a smart, sustainable, and industry-friendly investment environment for PV production in Europe. We also need to reduce the risk of investing in PV through more reliable policy frameworks, and support the rapid industrialization of our lab ideas to bring them to significant scale.”

Gøran Bye, CEO, Norwegian Crystals, said: “European PV-manufacturing is critical for the European Green Deal and for continental autonomy. Targeting 20 GW of annual production capacity by 2025 is a relatively modest ambition seen in relation to the volume of PV that every year is installed in Europe, but a challenging goal from the perspective of existing PV-manufacturing capacity. To succeed, Europe’s PV-manufacturing industry must pursue global scale at breakneck speed.”

Diederik Apotheker, Senior Business Development Manager, Invest.nl, said: “We believe innovative Solar PV products such as roof-tiles and lightweight modules can be made in Europe at a low carbon footprint and thereby accelerate energy transition. Invest-NL is currently processing several investment requests on these lines.”

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, said: “Disrupted supply chains during the pandemic, and the current electricity price crisis, prove that we need to accelerate deployment of solar and renewables in Europe faster than ever. Boosting solar PV manufacturing will accelerate Europe’s economic recovery, ensure our energy security, and contribute to the delivery of the European Green Deal objectives.”

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