The European Commission has today launched the European Solar PV Industry Alliance to promote investment in EU solar manufacturing.
Launched alongside industrial actors, research institutes, associations and other relevant parties, the alliance has endorsed the objective of reaching 30GW of European manufacturing capacity by 2025 across the entire value chain.
Reaching an annual capacity of 30GW would supply around 75% of solar panels needed annually in Europe at the current installation rate, according to trade body SolarPower Europe (SPE).
Such capacity would also bolster the industry by creating over 100,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector alone and supporting about 1 million jobs focused on installing and maintaining solar panels.
Innovation group EIT InnoEnergy – which was one of the founders of the European Solar Initiative, the foundation of the newly launched alliance – has been appointed as the secretariat to the EU Solar PV Industry Alliance, and is joined by SPE and the European Solar Manufacturing Council on the alliance’s steering committee.
Diego Pavia, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy said: “As we have done for batteries through our work on the European Battery Alliance, we will now do for solar PV, leveraging our robust industrial value chain blueprint and network of stakeholders to achieve rapid development of manufacturing projects across the solar PV value chain for the benefit of EU citizens.”
According to the alliance, it will implement a seven-point strategic action plan based on:
- identifying manufacturing scale-up bottlenecks and providing recommendations
- facilitating access to finance, including by establishing commercialisation pathways for solar PV manufacturing
- providing a framework for cooperation on development and uptake
- maintaining international partnerships and resilient global supply chains
- supporting solar PV research and innovation
- promoting circularity and sustainability measures
- exploring and developing a skilled workforce for the PV manufacturing sector
On top of this seven-action plan, the alliance’s list of priorities will be to mobilise both private and public financing for domestic manufacturing solar PV projects to scale up capacity, ensure a sustainable level playing field and stimulate demand for sustainable PV products. It will also implement eco-design requirements for PV systems and products and start an academy that will explore the skills needed for the manufacturing industry.
Building a domestic manufacturing capacity within the EU will be key for the region to reach the targets set in the REPowerEU with 320GW of solar deployment by 2025.
Dries Acke, policy director at SPE, said: “The EU Solar PV Industry Alliance is a critical recognition of the importance of building solar panels in Europe. It’s the coming-of-age of the European manufacturing story. The alliance means funding can get to the right projects, but we’ll be cut off at the knees if we don’t have a dedicated solar fund for the alliance to use.”
The European Commission kicked off work on the alliance last October with its endorsement and has since launched an open call to bring together industrial actors, research institutes, consumer associations, NGOs and other stakeholders with an interest in the solar PV sector.
During that timeframe from the Commission’s endorsement and the alliance’s launch today, many players in the solar industry called for the EU to ramp up the solar domestic manufacturing ecosystem, as well as to adopt similar measures to what the US and India have done so far.
The launch of the European Solar PV Industry Alliance comes days after the International Energy Agency released a report forecasting that global solar PV capacity will treble over the 2022-2027 period.