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Highlights of the ETIP PV Conference 2021: Solar PV is set to become “king of renewables”

June 29, 2021

Read below the main take aways of the ETIP PV Annual Conference 2021 ‘Solar PV Big & Beyond’ – Delivering the 2030 Climate Targets on 19 & 20 May 2021:

Solar PV is set to become “king of renewables”:
Speakers welcomed IEA’s Executive Director’s recent acknowledgement that solar is “becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets.” It was stressed that demand worldwide is growing, with an annual growth rate of 30% for deployed capacity over the last years. In Europe it is expected that solar capacity will grow by 15% annually on average for the next decades, what will bring a huge demand for rooftop and utility scale solar. According to predictions, by 2050 solar is expected to account for 9TW of capacity in Europe and over 80TW globally, making it the main energy source for the electricity, heating and transport sectors. This expected raise is due to the low cost and flexibility of PV.

Europe is strong in next generation PV technologies but lags in manufacturing:
While PV demand is increasing in Europe, less than 10% of it is met by European products and some segments of the supply chain have almost been entirely delocalised. This happened over the past decade due to very tough price competition mainly coming from China in the form of PERC modules.
While Europe’s industrial capacity was reduced, today it remains a technology leader in PV due to its excellence in the research field. As PERC PV panels reach their technological limits in terms of efficiency, European researchers and companies have an important advantage in terms of deploying the next generation of PV. Several promising PV technologies are expected to be deployed in the coming years and decades, including TOPCON, SHJ, perovskites and tandem.

The PV sector needs more investment and a stable legislative framework:
The sector calls for a more supportive framework, including legislation on renewables, Eco-design, public procurement, permitting and state aid. Crucially, industry needs trust and financial support from private investors and banks to be able to transform technological leadership into domestic mass production. The momentum of the Covid 19 recovery efforts and Europe’s move to assert its “strategic independence” have started a trend of PV reindustrialisation that the sector wants to continue and identify.