Self-consumption as the new Holy Grail of the PV industry: From theory to reality


By Gaëtan Masson, Business Intelligence Unit, European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA); Marie Latour, Senior National Policy Advisor, European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA)

There has been rapid development of renewables in Europe in the last decade thanks to various support schemes. These are now part of the electricity reality in Europe and will continue driving the energy revolution in the coming years. In the PV sector in particular, feed-in tariffs (FiTs) have proved quite successful: at the beginning of 2010 more than 51GW of PV systems were connected to the grid in the EU, compared to less than 5GW five years earlier. This translates to 2% of the electricity demand being fulfilled by PV systems in the EU27. But all coins are double-sided: FiTs have proved to be too successful in several countries, inducing uncontrolled market development. The time has come to identify how these mechanisms – and in particular support schemes based on pure electricity injection – should evolve in order to manage a sustainable transition to competitiveness.

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The seventeenth edition of Photovoltaics International applauds new markets emerging to plug the deployment gaps left by countries such as Spain, the Czech Republic and Italy. Profitless prosperity is the way Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor at characterises the PV manufacturing supply chain at the moment. In this issue the Fraunhofer ISE presents an overview of MWT technologies and calls on manufacturers to “quickly bring these techniques to industrialisation”. Additionally back contact cells and modules are featured extensively with valuable contributions from IMEC/ECN and the ISFH.

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