Intersolar Europe 2021: Speed and scale critical to Europe’s solar manufacturing hopes

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
Solar module production at Meyer Burger’s recently-opened facility in Germany. Image: Meyer Burger.

Establishing solar manufacturing scale at speed will be critical to the continent’s hopes of reviving an upstream solar manufacturing value chain, a panel of experts has concluded.

Speaking at SolarPower Europe’s high-level industry forum, hosted at this week’s Intersolar Europe 2021 exhibition, the trade body’s chief executive Walburga Hemetsberger spoke of Europe’s ambition to have 20GW of solar module manufacturing capacity – with accompanying value chain – within Europe by 2025.

This target had placed the sector “on the map”, Hemetsberger said, stating that “eyes and ears are open” with regards what is needed from the upstream solar industry in order to meet that target.

Panelists included representatives of both Meyer Burger and Solarwatt, manufacturers that have committed to building out manufacturing capacity in Europe, however both companies admitted that their respective current capacities are “drops in the ocean” in comparison to what is needed and the kind of scale other manufacturers possess.

Armin Froitzheim, chief technology officer at Solarwatt, said “enormous effort” was being undertaken by manufacturers and component providers from across the chain, ranging from polysilicon and ingot providers to frame, glass and other components, but suggested a comprehensive industrial strategy was required in order to reduce dependence on Chinese suppliers further.

Goran Bye, CEO at Norway-based monocrystalline wafer provider Norwegian Crystals, said Europe’s upstream solar industry needs to appreciate that Chinese manufacturers “knew how to get the price down”, and one of the critical components to this was establishing significant manufacturing scale at speed.

European manufacturers must look to replicate that kind of scale and speed, with Bye adding that this would not be achieved by backing novel technologies that are “still in the research lab”, such as pervoskites. After sufficient scale has been reached, that scale could then serve as a “platform to implement new technologies”.

Mortiz Borgmann, managing director at Meyer Burger (Industries), concurred, stating that Europe’s solar sector must build trust and adopt a more collaborative approach, ensuring that capacities of other components such as glass and aluminium frames also comes forward, with the entire value chain almost serving to de-risk investments in capacity expansions by adding certainty over offtakers.

More in-depth coverage of this panel will be published on PV Tech Premium later this week.

11 October 2022
PV CellTech Extra will be held as a series of live webinars and on-demand sessions on 11-13 October 2022. We'll be taking a slightly further forward-looking view at the technologies and roadmaps for new cell architectures set to dominate mass production during 2023-2025 with special emphasis on the potential timelines for technologies beyond the single-junction cell design, including perovskite and hybrid concepts.

Read Next

October 4, 2022
The European solar industry has launched a supply chain assurance scheme to develop confidence in how and where PV products are manufactured.
October 4, 2022
The government of India has released guidelines on the second round of its Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme designed to develop greater domestic PV production and slash the country’s reliance on imports.
October 4, 2022
Heterojunction cell and module manufacturer Meyer Burger is planning to raise funds to accelerate its expansion as it enters the utility-scale segment.
September 30, 2022
European Union countries will introduce a revenue cap on operational solar PV plants as part of a package of emergency measures approved today.
September 29, 2022
A research consortium has devised a production line with a throughput of up to 20,000 wafers per hour, which is double the usual amount.
PV Tech Premium
September 27, 2022
Europe must build out its own large-scale, vertically integrated solar PV manufacturing base as a means to ensure its clean energy transition.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

On-Demand Webinars, Solar Media Events
October 11, 2022
Virtual event
Upcoming Webinars
October 18, 2022
10am (EDT) / 4pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
November 29, 2022
Malaga, Spain