Plans for a European solar PV super-fab. “Reports came out this week that Germany, France, Switzerland, and possibly other European nations are mulling a plan to pool efforts and establish a combined massive-scale solar cell manufacturing operation, inspired by the aerospace consortium Airbus.” “The concept has been kicked around for a few years now, most recently at last fall’s EU PVSEC conference by Eicke Weber of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE).
The reasons for developing a bigger, stronger European solar PV footprint are well-known. Despite an infrastructure with research and supply-chain capabilities to support solar manufacturing, European solar cell and module makers have not evolved to match falling prices and the rise of China’s solar PV dominance, Fraunhofer ISE points out. Thus they propose a new consortium: X-GWp, with core members including the Fraunhofer ISE, the National Solar Energy Institute (INES) of France, and the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM), as well as several unnamed European manufacturers. The goal: “demonstrate that the technologies developed in Europe can also be manufactured here if suitable approaches are taken,” and ultimately implement the technology worldwide, particularly in countries possessing high insolation levels where solar power is most attractive, to address a market seen surging from 45 GW this year to 100 GW or more by the start of the next decade.”