PV Manufacturing in Europe Conference,
18 &19 May 2017, Brussels, Belgium
Over 120 PV Specialists Discussed the Future of PV Manufacturing in Europe
Solar is the Key Principle to Decarbonising the Worlds Electricity Demand
A Clear Industrial Strategy is Essential for Europe
The PV Manufacturing in Europe Conference organised by the European Technology
and Innovation Platform for Photovoltaics (ETIP PV) took place on 18 & 19 May 2017,
at the BIP House in Brussels. Key industry leaders, scientists, engineers, and policy
makers joined to debate the status and future of "PV Manufacturing in Europe". Over
120 PV specialists from 16 European countries attended the conference.
The Conference was chaired by the ETIP PV Chairman Marko Topič, who opened the
conference stating that “Photovoltaics continues to experience a world-wide boom.
Europe had installed more than 100 GW by the end of 2016, with more than 300 GW
instal ed worldwide” and added that electricity from PV reached competitiveness
across Europe. He also stated, “To accomplish the targets of the SET Plan1, Europe
must participate in this global expansion by manufacturing and exporting advanced,
high-quality PV technology, across the whole value chain at a significant scale. This
wil generate significant wealth and energy security for the continent. Furthermore,
deployment of PV technology wil enhance energy security. This wil be true for
Europe, as for countries across the world. Al major future energy system forecasts
show a key role for photovoltaic solar energy. Further, the COP21’s overarching goal
from Paris last year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to limit the global
temperature increase clearly showed that expectations and projections for PV are
high. Europe must accelerate R&D and innovation activities to strengthen
competitiveness across the whole value chain of PV manufacturing in Europe”.
Arnulf Jäger Waldau, Senior Scientist at European Commission, DG Joint Research
Centre of the European Commission, underlined Topič’s statement:”Decarbonising
the electricity sector until 2050 is mandatory to achieve the targets of the Paris
Agreement and solar is one of the pillars to achieve this decarbonisation. Over the
last decades, there is significant continuous technology progress and for all PV
technologies the progress has been greater than predicted in various roadmaps”.
Gaëtan Masson, ETIP PV Vice-Chairman and the Programme Chair of the
conference, said “PV is mainstream and wil be the number one energy source by
2050. However, the complete PV value chain must be represented in Europe, or the
innovation ecosystem wil col apse. Europe now represents less than 8% of the global
PV market and this means that we need a clear industrial strategy and we should
consider a ‘Buy European’ policy for public procurement”.
In one of the sessions the discussion treated technologies that could ensure PV
manufacturing developments in Europe in the coming years. The session was joined
by major PV companies from Europe and discussed whether new developments
could economical y make sense for manufacturing in Europe and how key
European actors could benefit from them. Dr. Peter Wohlfart, Singulus Technologies
pointed out, “that the European equipment manufacturers stil play a very important
role for the further development of crystalline and thin-film production
technologies”. According to Dr. Wohlfart, the European equipment suppliers require
three fundamental components to keep globally competitive: A focus on core
competences in equipment hardware and processes, the cooperation with experienced and challenging industrial cel and module producers and joint
development projects with the global y leading European research institutes to
transfer new technologies from laboratory into mass production.
Milan Nitzschke from Solarworld echoed Masson’s words: "Europe needs to keep an
intact complete PV value chain. It is not enough to focus on the far upstream and far
downstream ends. Losing the core parts of the industry would impact al other parts
and risk to lose the entire EU key enabling technology PV at the end. Europe must
continue to differentiate by quality and technological advance. Tech-wise we're 1-2
years ahead, but we need to restore a fair level playing field in the market."
The European Technology and Innovation Platform for Photovoltaics (ETIP PV) support
the European PV sector in realizing its ambition to be a major player in PV’s
emergence as a multi-terawatt power source.