European manufacturing should focus on its key advantages, says NexWafe CEO

The lack of solar cell and wafer capacity from other markets could be a market opportunity for the European solar manufacturing industry. Image: Fraunhofer ISE

Europe has a significant opportunity for innovation in cell and wafer production technology, according to the CEO of German wafer producer NexWafe.

In a guest article published today on PV Tech, Davor Sutija, CEO of Freiburg-based NexWafe, said Europe needs to learn from its global counterparts in the US, India and Turkey in implementing incentives and partnership that bolster domestic manufacturing.

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Sutija said the journey ahead for the European solar industry was “challenging” but filled with potential. Through innovation, supportive policies and building alliances between European solar companies, the industry can move forward with these challenges.

As the US manufacturing capacity is primarily focused on bringing module capacity, a lack of solar cells and wafers in the coming years will push the US to continue depending on importing cells in the near future, as written by the Clean Energy Associates (CEA) in a blog post on PV Tech in December 2023.

Another area of interest for the European solar industry would be for the region to focus on PV production equipment and materials supply, according to Finlay Colville, head of research at PV Tech.

Colville said that as the US and India are ramping up their own domestic manufacturing capacity, it would be a good opportunity for Europe to set itself up as a key supplier of manufacturing equipment.

Colville explains that the focus in Europe could be targeted towards PV production equipment and materials suppliers as well as research institutes.

“India is now seeking to diversify its equipment buying for cell capacity build-outs, and there remains a very pro-Europe/pro-Germany aspect to Indian PV companies when it comes to cell equipment and technology leadership,” wrote Colville in a post on PV Tech earlier this week.

Another area Europe needs to consider focusing on is its research institutes, with many at the forefront of research and development and technology-transfer, added Colville.

PV Tech publisher Solar Media will be organising the ninth PV CellTech 2023 Conference in Frankfurt, Germany during 12-13 March 2024. PV CellTech has become the PV industry’s flagship event to understand technology in manufacturing and how this will evolve in the next few years. For more information, including how to attend, can be read here.

8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.

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