• SolarPower Europe’s 4th High-Level Industrial Forum at Intersolar Europe 2019 discussed the need for the region to have an industrial strategy for solar PV technology growth
  • The meet was timed just as the European Commission is expected to deliver a first proposal on industrial policy after summer
  • Having such a policy in place would help the sector develop a meaningful, robust and competitive European solar production industry said Meyer Burger CEO Hans Brändle
  • Along with Meyer Burger, senior executives from Enel Green Power, Belectric Solar & Battery GmbH, Sonnen eServices, SMA Solar Technology AG and Akuo Industry participated in the panel discussions at the SPE forum

Support from policy makers is a must for Europe’s PV manufacturers to be able to compete on a global level. In fact, the Continent needs a strong, well-designed industrial policy, which was the subject of a discussion at the 4th High-Level Industry Forum organized by European solar PV lobby association, SolarPower Europe (SPE) at the recently concluded Intersolar Europe 2019 in Munich.

Senior executives from leading European companies discussed the need to adopt a solar industrial policy as the European Commission is likely to deliver a first proposal on an industrial policy after the summer, whereas solar is only one of many sectors.

“It is impressive how China’s government has fully understood solar’s potential as the world’s future dominant power source and has become a global leader both on the demand as well as on the supply side,” said  Hans Brändle, CEO of Meyer Burger, a world leading PV production equipment manufacturer that recently invested in next gen PV cell technology start-up Oxford PV. “With Europe still having excellent stakeholders in the solar research & technology field and the European market finally entering a new growth phase, it is a huge opportunity for European policymakers to create an appropriate solar industrial strategy that enables the sector to develop a meaningful, robust and competitive European solar production industry.”

In December 2018, SPE launched a policy push asking for 5 GW of cell and module manufacturing capacity in Europe while expecting annual demand for shoot up to 15 GW a year (see SPE Calls For 5 GW Cell/Module Capacity In Europe). SPE also presented a position paper with recommendations for a solar industrial strategy in March, which outlines what’s exactly need to make solar manufacturing flourishing in Europe, including financing and easier access to low-cost capital

SPE’s Global Market Outlook report released in May 2019 expects over 80% YoY growth for the region in 2019, expecting it to install 20.4 GW, followed by a further 18% annual increase to 24.1 GW in 2020 (see SolarPower Europe: 800 GW New PV By 2023).

“In March 2019, SolarPower Europe’s Industrial Competitiveness Task Force presented a set of key recommendations to the European Commission to bring this strategy forward. Ahead of the next EU term, the European solar sector is ready to gear up and establish itself as a global leader,” said SPE CEO Walburga Hemetsberger in the presence of Paula Abreu-Marques, the head of unit for Renewables and CCS Policy in the European Commission, DG Energy.

Top management of Enel Green Power, Meyer Burger, Belectric Solar & Battery GmbH, Sonnen eServices, SMA Solar Technology AG and Akuo Industry participated in the panel discussions at the SPE forum.