June 26 (Renewables Now) - European solar industry and research organisations are calling for cheap finance, accelerated research and development and smart regulation to ensure the future of European solar manufacturing.
In an open letter released last week the European Technology and Innovation Platform Photovoltaics (ETIP PV), EUREC and SOLARUNITED, formerly known as the International Photovoltaic Equipment Association (IPVEA), say that urgent action is needed to maintain solar R&D and EU manufacturing and to ensure that Europe does not miss further opportunities in the sector.
The organisations are calling for efforts to maintain existing and develop further the biggest manufacturing sites on the continent, noting that continuation as a going concern for some is currently in question. “Moving those sites to outside Europe must be prevented,” the letter says.
To support European manufacturing public investment banks should immediately signal their interest in supporting PV production, and the industry needs to get access to investment support. Also, greater support is needed for the manufacture of high-quality, technologically advanced products at scale, the associations say.
“It is strategically important for Europe to maintain strong involvement in this technology. This can only be achieved with an innovation-driven robust ecosystem of companies and research centers supplying different PV-related products and services,” the organisations say.
The letter further says the current financing schemes at national and European level should be increased to match the levels of foreign competitors.
ETIP PV, EUREC and SOLARUNITED demand that all barriers to the rapid deployment of centralised and decentralised solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity should be removed. They say installations in Europe are now down to 2009 levels, while prices have never been lower.
The associations also urge governments to work on smart regulations to ensure that products complying with EU manufacturing standards have an advantage.
ETIP PV is an independent body that provides advice on photovoltaic solar energy policy. EUREC represents research centres and university departments working on renewable energy technology. SOLARUNITED serves the interests of PV technology firms, module makes, project developers, financiers, consultants and other companies involved in the sector.