EU PVSEC 2015: Different city same policy tune

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

The policy or political side to Europe’s largest and most important R&D focused conference, EU PVSEC has been beating the same drum for several years and this year’s event in Hamburg is no different. 

The plenary session topics have not really changed for the last three years, nor have the keynote speakers and panel members, in many respects. 

The main policy message remains focused on tapping the EU to continue to support the PV industry within the nation states and Europe as a general region.

The panel discussion moderated by IEA’s Paolo Frankl, Head of Renewable Energy Division seemed well rehearsed but the theme remains the same as last year, when I wrote that the European solar sector wanted to capitalise on the EU energy transformation. 

Of course that transformation is driven by politics and a dysfunctional group of members that strategically depend on certain energy sources as diverse as coal, nuclear power, hydro, PV, wind and a renewable mix. Some are driving change like Germany, while others remain in the dark ages and some like the UK don’t know where they are. 

No surprise then that it was hard to gather any evidence that the European PV industry was getting anywhere in building a business within the energy transformation. 

Granted this isn’t something that looks like gaining meaningful momentum like the dotcom boom of old but talking about transformations could take much longer than the dotcom boom and subsequent bust before anything actually happens, but hey that’s the EU…right? 

Energy storage was touted, smart grids and smart city grids too but there were a number of previous EU government support requirements that are already losing ground.

One of those is for the repatriation of PV manufacturing after a major collapse across the supply chain resulting in bankruptcies, consolidation and exits, which is something that has continued in the European sector for four years. 

The last man standing with any meaningful manufacturing in Europe is SolarWorld. However, the company is in recovery mode form near financial collapse and trails heavily behind major rivals with the only major market it serves with growth being the US.

Efforts announced around EU PVSEC in 2013 by the Fraunhofer ISE to propose a new European 1GW plus (x-GWp) manufacturing facility along Airbus business lines has waned, according to Prof. Eicke Weber at a press conference at Hamburg. 

Other than the PV equipment sector, which has been heavily impacted but is now in recovery mode as a new technology buy cycle has been underway since 2014, the rest of the European supply chain has been severely impacted as without an international business footprint little capital expenditure remains in Europe.

Government support at the nation level has been heavily curtailed, Spain, Germany, Italy and most recently the UK, resulting in a shift for the European PV industry to head to the EU for salvation. 

The knock-on effect has been the dwindling demand for industry research projects, despite funds from German authorities and EU specific projects such as Horizon. 

To keep PV R&D in Europe, Europe needs PV manufacturing and the jobs associated with it. 

Dependence on the downstream energy revolution as a saviour for R&D activities is highly speculative and requires a coherent, connected dots approach in Europe. Something yet to be seen in many examples of manufacturing industry demise in the last few decades in Europe, why would history not repeat itself in respect to the European PV industry? 

Efforts announced around EU PVSEC in 2013 by the Fraunhofer ISE to propose a new European 1GW plus (x-GWp) manufacturing facility along Airbus business lines has waned, according to Prof. Eicke Weber at a press conference at Hamburg.
28 July 2021
LONGi has launched its Hi-MO N module, the company's first bifacial module with N-type TOPCon cells, designed to deliver ultra- high value and lower LCOE to utility-scale PV power plants. This PV TechTalk Product Series webinar will provide an overview of the module’s technology and how the introduction of n-type technologies will provide efficiency and performance gains for solar project developers.
29 July 2021
This free webinar will explore the ongoing opportunities in the UK solar PV market, looking at global technology trends and how they apply to the UK. Join us for an overview of the project pipeline and forecast for deployment over the coming years. We'll be looking at the types of modules available and being used in the UK and presenting a case study on the deployment of bifacial modules in this market.
19 August 2021
The utility-scale PV market is poised for exponential growth and yet the industry still has many fundamental opportunities to improve on standards and best practice. Tracker shade loss has been one of those topics that deserve more attention, but has been typically handled by derate factors rather than trying to accurately forecast the loss over the life of the system. Join Nextracker’s subject matter experts, Aron Dobos and Neelesh Umachandran, and Rounak Kharait, director of solar energy assessments at DNV, for a webinar about why shade modeling matters and recommendations on what the solar industry should do about it.
25 August 2021
Energy Next is a new industry exhibition focusing on the latest renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, which will be held for the first time in 2021 in Sydney, Australia alongside the Clean Energy Council’s Australian Clean Energy Summit, the peak gathering of leaders driving Australia's energy transformation. Organised by the same people behind Australia’s largest clean energy event, All-Energy Australia, Energy Next will give visitors two days of access to key suppliers in the industry, free-to-attend professional development and industry workshops, and networking opportunities to better understand clean energy issues and solutions and learn about the latest developments in this transformational, dynamic sector.
25 August 2021
The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste takes place in Fortaleza, Brazil. It addresses leading local and international experts on solar power and renewable energy in the region. The Summit’s mission is to provide in-depth education, enable high-quality networking opportunities, expand the use of PV technologies at regional and national level and strengthen the local PV industry. The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste is organized by Intersolar South America - Latin America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry: Solar Promotion International GmbH, Pforzheim, Freiburg Management and Marketing International GmbH (FMMI) and Aranda Eventos & Congressos Ltda, São Paulo as co-organizer.
25 August 2021
Join us to hear directly from the CTOs and heads-of-research from the top-20 cell/wafer producers to the PV industry today. The event will focus on predicting the key metrics underpinning the next big shift to n-type with answers to the key questions: When will the transition to n-type happen? Which companies will be first to 10 GW capacity and production? Who will be the key equipment suppliers for the new production lines? Which n-type process flow/architecture will emerge as the front-runner? What will polysilicon purity and wafer thickness levels look like for optimized n-type manufacturing? What will the upstream poly/wafer supply-chain look like in 5 years from now?

Read Next

July 27, 2021
Greek industrial group Mytilineos recorded a net profit of €77 million (US$91 million) in H1 2021, however the firm’s renewables division witnessed a drop in revenue year-on-year.
July 27, 2021
Canadian Solar has closed a BRL500 million (US$100 million) financing facility to develop a Brazilian solar portfolio claimed to be the country’s largest, while also giving it the option to hold built solar assets for longer.
July 27, 2021
Community Choice Aggregators (CCA) Central Coast Community Energy (CCCE) and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) have signed contracts for 778MW of renewable energy generation and 118.75MW of energy storage in California.
July 27, 2021
More than 140 business leaders have urged the US Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, telling lawmakers that the bill is “desperately needed” to renew the nation’s infrastructure
July 27, 2021
A round-up of the latest news from the US solar market, featuring Vision Solar’s commitment to hire “hundreds” of sales staff as part of a two-state expansion, Recurrent Energy’s sale of two major assets in Texas and news of 8minute Solar Energy strengthening its legal team.
July 27, 2021
Tesla reported retrofit solar installations of 85MW in Q2 2021, cementing its recovery from a worst-ever performance in the corresponding period last year.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events, Upcoming Webinars
July 29, 2021
Webinar
Upcoming Webinars
August 19, 2021
At 9am (PT) | 6pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
August 25, 2021