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Government & Industry Pledge Support To Improve Conditions for Domestic PV Manufacturing Industry

Aerial view of solar power station
  • 23 EU nations have signed the European Solar Charter to support the local solar PV industry 
  • It entails support to manufacturing through non-price criteria under resilience auctions and procurement strategies 
  • The European Commission says it will improve financing conditions for PV manufacturing projects 

Energy ministers from 23 European Union (EU) nations have pledged their support to boosting domestic solar PV manufacturing capacity with the signing of the European Solar Charter. It is also signed by around 100 solar sector representatives, all of whom have committed to implementing a series of voluntary actions on a priority basis. 

Signatory countries to the charter are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and the Netherlands. 

Some of the salient features of the charter are as follows: 

  • The member states will promote resilient supply of European-made high-quality sustainable solar products through early implementation of the relevant provisions in the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA). This includes inclusion of non-price criteria in renewable energy auctions, public procurement or other relevant support schemes. 
  • The ‘ambitious’ non-price criteria comprise resilience, sustainability, responsible business conduct, ability to deliver, innovation and cybersecurity (see EU Council & Parliament Agree Over Net-Zero Industry Act). 
  • Resilience considerations will be made part of the PV offtakers’ procurement strategies. 
  • The member states will create favorable framework conditions to maintain and expand manufacturing facilities of PV products and for additional investments. 
  • Promote innovative business models including agrivoltaics or agri-PV, floating solar, infrastructure integrated PV, vehicle integrated PV (VIPV) or building integrated PV (BIPV). To ensure this, signatories will ease regulatory and permitting barriers. 
  • As part of its commitment to the charter, the European Commission says it intends to further facilitate access to EU funding for solar PV manufacturing projects, including through the Innovation Fund. 
  • The commission will also work with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support investments in the solar manufacturing value chain, including through InvestEU. 

“The solar photovoltaic manufacturing sector is key for achieving our energy, climate and competitiveness goals,” said EU Commissioner Kadri Simson. “The European Solar Charter brings together the Commission, national authorities and the industry, fostering cooperation and bringing support to the production of solar panels made in Europe.” 

The commission calls solar energy indispensable for achieving the 2030 EU target of at least 42.5% renewable energy by 2030, which can go up to 45%. The local solar industry has been demanding swift measures to support its competitiveness against much cheaper Chinese panels flooding the market currently. 

European wafer maker NorSun has already shuttered its plant in Norway citing lack of demand, but it is planning a 5 GW fab in the US instead. Cell and module maker Meyer Burger has shut down its module plant in Germany to focus on its US fabs after the German government decided against the resilience bonus (see Meyer Burger Finally Closing Down Freiberg Module Facility). 

Under such circumstances, the European solar industry has welcomed the European Solar Charter with the European solar PV lobby association SolarPower Europe (SPE) calling it ‘an important moment of recognition.’  

SPE CEO Walburga Hemetsberger said, “Solar in Europe has skyrocketed in recent years. Building on the 2022 EU Solar Strategy, the EU Solar Charter reinforces the reality that solar PV is now a mainstream energy technology. Europe, and the world, is banking on solar to guide us out of the climate and energy crisis towards a new era of green prosperity and security.” 

Source from Taiyang News

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