The European Solar PV Industry Alliance (ESIA) to support the Solar Renaissance in Europe

The European Solar PV Industry Alliance (ESIA) to support the Solar Renaissance in Europe

On Wednesday, June 14, the ESIA held its inaugural annual forum. During the event, Gaëtan Masson, a partner and administrator of CARBON, took the stage for a roundtable discussion titled “Ready for the Solar Renaissance?”. This forum was an opportunity to review ESIA’s mission of promoting the relocation of the PV value chain within Europe.

ESIA’s First Annual Forum: Ready for the Solar Renaissance?

Established in late 2022, the ESIA held its first annual forum on June 14, 2023, in Munich. The event took place during Intersolar Europe, a prominent trade fair for the solar industry.

The forum gathered key players from the European PV value chain to discuss the industry’s challenges within the European context. The agenda included a morning roundtable discussion on the prospects of a solar renaissance, followed by a shared meal with alliance members. In the afternoon, the ESIA Forum focused on one of the key question for the value chain’s relocation in Europe: how to ensure the competitiveness of the European photovoltaic industry?

Gaëtan Masson à l'ESIA Forum

Collaboration Across the PV Value Chain

Gaëtan Masson, administrator and partner of CARBON, participated in the first roundtable discussion titled “Ready for the Solar Renaissance?”. To provide a comprehensive overview and future outlook for the PV industry in Europe, various speakers representing different segments of the PV value chain shared their insights.

  • Tobias Brandis, the President of the Polysilicon Division at Wacker Chemie AG, represented the upstream segment of the value chain. The German company holds a prominent position in the production of high-quality solar-grade silicon and is already preparing to expand its capacities in Norway.
  • The intermediate stages of ingots, bricks, and wafers were represented by Erik Løkke-Øwre (CEO of Norsun) and Goran Bye (CEO of Norwegian Crystals).
  • Concerning modules, Eliano Russo (Director of Enel Green Power’s 3Sun Gigafactory) and Gunter Erfurt (CEO of Meyer Burger) provided their insights.
  • Katharina Eickelberg (SVP Global Communication & Sustainability at SMA) highlighted the challenges faced by inverter manufacturers.
  • Rémi Moscato, Director in charge of structuring and execution at Akuo, spoke on behalf of the downstream segment of the value chain.
  • Finally, Matthias Mantel (CEO of Lapmaster & Wolters) presented the challenges for the industrial machinery sector, a key element for reindustrialization.
  • CARBON, on the other hand, aims to integrate the entire value chain, from ingots to modules.

By bringing together these diverse stakeholders at one table, the ESIA confirms its commitment to fostering collaboration among European industrialists. The alliance aims to restore the European continent’s prominence in the global solar market.

ESIA: Accelerating the Growth of the European Photovoltaic Industry

Established in late 2022 at the request of the European Commission, the ESIA strives to accelerate the growth of the solar industry in Europe and ensure its industrial independence.

Currently, while the demand for photovoltaic panels is soaring, China remains the dominant force in the PV market, accounting for 97% of wafer production, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

With the Fit for 55 package setting the goal of achieving at least 40% renewable energy production in Europe by 2030, solar energy emerges as an affordable, competitive, and abundant resource. It has thus a vital role to play in Europe’s energy mix.

To meet European climate policy objectives while safeguarding France’s and Europe’s energy and industrial independence, it is imperative to develop a resilient and self-reliant European PV industry.

However, the solar sector faces significant challenges in terms of competitiveness. Over the past decade, China has gained a substantial advantage due to strong political support. On the other hand, the United States, leveraging the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), has implemented robust incentives to revitalize its photovoltaic industry.

In the face of these two giants, ESIA’s mission revolves around identifying barriers, opportunities, and investment potential within the European PV value chain. It also addresses crucial aspects such as circularity, environmental impact, and employment implications. The European objective is to achieve a production capacity of 30 GW across the entire value chain, from polysilicon to recycling, including ingots, wafers, cells, and modules, by 2025.

The European Commission estimates that this alliance will result in the creation of 400,000 new jobs and an annual increase of 60 billion euros in GDP.

CARBON: A Founding Member of the European Solar PV Industry Alliance (ESIA)

CARBON fully intends to contribute to the European strategic objective. Its first photovoltaic giga-factory is scheduled to commence operations by late 2025, with a gradual ramp-up throughout 2026. It will create 3,000 direct jobs and at least as many indirect jobs. The production capacity will reach 5 GW of photovoltaic cells.

CARBON takes great pride in being among the founding members of the European Solar PV Industry Alliance (ESIA). The impact of the ESIA will be crucial if the alliance effectively fosters extensive, cooperative, prompt, and tangible efforts in terms of regulatory frameworks and public financing to support the entire European PV industry !

CARBON’s dedication to ESIA is further demonstrated through active participation in the alliance’s working groups. Pierre-Emmanuel MARTIN, the co-founder and president of CARBON, co-chairs the working group on non-price criteria for enhancing the competitiveness of the European solar industry, along with Jörb Ebel from IBC SOLAR AG.

Esia Groupe de travail critère hors prix