EC gives ‘much-awaited signal to re-ignite’ European solar manufacturing

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission. Image: European Commission.

Europe’s solar industry has lauded the inclusion of a commitment to “re-ignite” Europe’s solar manufacturing sector within the European Commission’s refreshed industrial strategy.

Earlier today the European Commission published a revised industrial strategy, revealing a host of measures, aims and commitments designed to help guide its member states’ recovery from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It builds on an initial industrial strategy that was originally published in March 2020, just as the impacts of the pandemic were beginning to be felt on the continent. Throughout the pandemic, the European Commission writes that European industry was “exposed to new vulnerabilities and older dependencies”, the strategy states.

“[The pandemic] also illustrated the need for more speed in the transition towards a cleaner, more digital, and more resilient economic and industrial model, in order to maintain and enhance Europe’s drive towards sustainable competitiveness,” the document writes.

This prompted the need for an update to the strategy which, amongst other measures, has identified 14 “industrial ecosystems” that are to receive tailored support, of which renewables and domestic renewables manufacturing is one.

Current investment into renewables, energy storage, grids and other related technologies within the EU are too low, the revised strategy says, stressing that European industry needs access to abundant, affordable and decarbonised electricity if the transition is to deliver “genuinely sustainable competitiveness”.

The strategy argues that additional efforts are needed to meet those aims, and the European Commission has pledged to collaborate with member states to increase their ambitions accordingly. Specifically, the report stresses that the market expansion and surging demand for solar PV – amongst other technologies – is a “key opportunity” for the bloc, with even greater scales than are delivered now capable of lowering energy costs for industry and consumers alike.

The European Commission said it welcomes efforts to scale up solar manufacturing in Europe, paying specific mention to the European Solar Initiative, launched by trade bodies SolarPower Europe and EIT InnoEnergy earlier this year to trigger a return of solar manufacturing in Europe.

In addition, the strategy repeats a commitment to environmentally conscious design measures for solar panels, including the potential requirement for carbon footprints to be considered during module procurement, widely considered to be a key potential policy lever in driving adoption of European-made solar products.

Europe’s solar industry has warmly welcomed its inclusion in the Commission’s industrial strategy revision, stressing it to be a “much-awaited signal to reignite solar manufacturing in Europe and enable the EU to take the lead in the next generation of cutting-edge solar technologies”, as Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, said today.

“After years of intense work we are thrilled that the revised industrial strategy endorses the European Solar Initiative as a critical industrial alliance to deliver Europe’s solar industrial leadership.

“The ESI is already working at full speed to secure first investment decisions for solar manufacturing projects in the upcoming months. This arrives at a critical moment: today at least eight GW-scale cell manufacturing projects are under development in the EU,” Naomi Chevillard, senior policy advisor at SolarPower Europe, added.

Read Next

January 26, 2022
The CEO of US utility NextEra Energy has said that while he thinks it is “more likely than not” that the clean energy piece of the country's Build Back Better (BBB) bill gets acted on this year, the company doesn’t need policy support included in the legislation to achieve its targets.
January 26, 2022
Proposed changes to California’s net metering (NEM) incentive programme will severely reduce residential PV’s value proposition in the state, cutting its solar market in half by 2024, Wood Mackenzie has warned.
January 24, 2022
Italy’s government will limit the windfall profits of some feed-in tariff-backed solar PV projects that have been able to benefit from rising energy prices.
January 21, 2022
India is at risk of a supply and demand mismatch for solar equipment if domestic PV manufacturers are unable to meet the quantity and quality required by project developers, Fitch Solutions has warned.
January 21, 2022
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on solar energy on the continent as it continues preparations to publish its solar strategy later this year.
PV Tech Premium
January 21, 2022
Greece is on track to accelerate solar deployment in the coming years, with the sector boosted by rising demand for renewable offtake agreements from corporations and clean energy policies from the EU, according to the general manager of Greek industrial group Mytilineos’s renewables business.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 8, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal
Solar Media Events
April 25, 2022
Berlin, Germany