Experts Discuss Possibility Of European PV Production

Solar PV Manufacturing Fab In Germany/Europe With Vertical Production Chain Competitive To Chinese Fab Possible, Claims Fraunhofer ISE In First Findings In VDMA Commissioned Study At Intersolar Europe
04:53 AM (Beijing Time) - 22. May 2019

Fraunhofer ISE has calculated total production costs of a site located in Germany/Europe comparing these to a production site located in China for the purpose of the VDMA commissioned study whose initial findings it discussed at Intersolar Europe in Munich. (Source: Fraunhofer ISE)

Key Takeaways

  • VDMA has commissioned a study to be carried out by Fraunhofer ISE on the feasibility of establishing a new solar PV manufacturing facility in Germany/Europe with vertical production chain
  • Sharing first insights from the study Fraunhofer ISE said such a fab can be a possibility and it can be competitive to a facility in China
  • The study findings suggest having local production units even for suppliers of components

Establishing a solar PV manufacturing facility in Europe with a vertical production chain comprising ingot, wafer, cell and modules can be competitive to a production fab in China despite the import of key materials, said Institute Director of Fraunhofer ISE, Dr Andreas Bett at the recently concluded Intersolar Europe in Munich. Bett was discussing the first findings of a study commissioned by the German Engineering Federation, VDMA on the feasibility of establishing mass production of PV in Germany and Europe.

The VDMA commissioned study will analyse the possibilities and prerequisites of mass production in the region, and if so under what conditions. It considers manufacturing location, equipment and supply chain to discuss the scope of such a fab basis different scenarios.

Fraunhofer ISE is covering surface-passivated monocrystalline silicon solar cells (mono-PERC) technology along its entire value chain from the wafer to the module in the study. In a presentation by Fraunhofer ISE during the panel discussion at Intersolar Europe, the solar technology research institute also calculated the total production costs of a site located in Germany/Europe comparing these to a production site located in China.

Having local production units is important not just for the competitiveness of the industry, but also for sustainability of the European market, according to the authors. To have a multi GW level fab within the region, it is equally important to have suppliers that produce locally too.

“Local manufactures of expensive consumer materials such as glass and aluminum frames shall especially be won over. In this way, it is possible to further reduce the manufacturing costs in Europe, thus improving the cost benefits of a European production as compared to imported Chinese modules,” read a statement from Fraunhofer ISE.

The study is expected to be finalized by the end of June 2019.

In December 2018, European solar PV lobby association SolarPower Europe launched a policy push asking for European policymakers to provide the framework for 5 GW cell and modules manufacturing capacity in Europe as it anticipated 15 GW of annual future demand (see SPE Calls For 5 GW Cell/Module Capacity In Europe). It also released its flagship publication Global Market Outlook at Intersolar Europe 2019 that sees 20.4 GW of new solar power capacity installed in Europe in 2019, growing by over 80% YoY and further 18% to 24.1 GW in 2020 (see SolarPower Europe: 800 GW New PV By 2023).

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani