»European photovoltaic production can be restarted«, ISE

On behalf of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has carried out a study entitled »Is a PV factory realistic in Germany/Europe?«. It examines the currently relevant technology based on surface-passivated mono-crystalline silicon solar cells (mono-PERC) along the value chain from wafer to module, and compares the cost ratios for production in Germany/Europe with production in China. The construction of a vertically integrated PV factory across all stages of the value chain (ingot, wafer, cell, module) in Europe, despite the import of important consumables, could be »competitive with a Chinese PV factory,« says Andreas Bett, head of the Fraunhofer ISE institute, during the presentation of initial results. »The decisive factors in this consideration are that, on the one hand, the necessary transport costs of modules from China for the European market are taken into account in the manufacturing costs and, on the other hand, sustainability criteria in production are also taken into account.
Against the background of a sustainable market perspective and the establishment of multi-gigawatt factories in Europe, it should also be possible to win back suppliers for the local production of particularly cost-intensive consumables such as glass and aluminum frames. This could lead to a further reduction in manufacturing costs in Europe and thus a cost advantage over modules manufactured and imported in China.
The study is expected to be completed by the end of June.

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