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ESIA Action Plan Boosts European PV Manufacturing

2024-04-12

The European Solar Industry Alliance (ESIA) is pushing for comprehensive strategies to reach a goal of 30 GW of solar manufacturing capacity in the European Union by 2030. This initiative is outlined in their 10-point action plan released this week, emphasizing the need for significant growth in the European PV manufacturing sector to stay competitive.

 

The alliance highlights that the production costs for the European solar industry are currently 1.5 to 2.3 times more than those in China. To achieve their target, they estimate that the industry would require between €18 billion ($19.3 billion) and €24 billion in investment support, plus an additional €4 billion to €6 billion yearly for operational expenses.

 

To facilitate this expansion, the action plan suggests leveraging the European Union’s Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework. It also recommends a €1 billion contribution from the EU Innovation Fund and a collaborative effort with the European Investment Bank (EIB). This partnership is projected to spur €15 billion in investments into PV manufacturing by 2027.

 

The action plan from the European Solar Industry Alliance (ESIA) starkly warns that without a targeted and united effort involving the industry, the European Commission, Member States, and both private and public investors such as the EIB, there will be no viable business model for PV manufacturing in Europe.

 

In a bid to strengthen the workforce, ESIA is advocating for the creation of a European Solar Academy aimed at training 100,000 workers in the PV value-chain by the end of 2025. They predict this move could generate 400,000 direct and indirect jobs and are calling for public funds to support these training initiatives.

 

Further, the ESIA stresses the importance of incorporating sustainability, traceability, and circularity into the core of the internal market to boost the competitiveness of European manufacturers. They propose the adoption of stringent eco-design requirements and suggest that embedding sustainability and resilience criteria in public procurement and auctions, as mandated by the Net Zero Industry Act, would create a more level playing field with non-European PV manufacturers.

 

Additionally, ESIA recommends launching an industry-driven initiative to create a PV passport, which would enhance the transparency and traceability of PV products in the European market. They also highlight the opportunity for Europe’s PV manufacturing sector to leverage the "Made in Europe" label, noting that certain buyers are willing to pay a premium for products bearing this mark.

 

The European Solar Industry Alliance (ESIA) describes 2023 as a challenging year for the European solar manufacturing sector, marked by plummeting PV module prices, an oversupply of modules, soaring electricity costs, and what it perceives as an insufficiently urgent response to support the industry. These factors combined to severely undermine investor confidence.

 

Following these difficulties, ESIA's latest action plan builds on a recommendation paper they released in November. This earlier document outlined a proposed support scheme aimed at bolstering the development of the solar industry across Europe, setting the stage for the comprehensive measures they are now advocating.

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