Study: European photovoltaic production can be profitable

Photovoltaic production in Europe and Germany across the entire value chain is competitive if the size of the production fab is appropriate. This is the result of a survey by Fraunhofer ISE commissioned by VDMA, comparing the cost ratios of production in Europe and China.
»While the machines for manufacturing solar modules are still manufactured in Germany, the production of cells has now almost completely migrated to Asia,« says the organization. But the production of solar modules could also take place in Europe at competitive costs and without state subsidies. According to the study, however, a production capacity of at least five gigawatts per year would be a prerequisite. Such a factory would represent an investment of just over one billion euros.
According to Jutta Trube, head of VDMA Photovoltaic Production Equipment, »the first supply shortages for solar modules, which are mainly produced in Asia, are already becoming apparent.« The study shows that a module manufactured in Europe can be produced for the European market at competitive costs – not least because transport costs from Asia are eliminated. The most cost-effective case arises when a closed supply chain for the essential materials is also established locally in Europe and when the production takes place, for example, in a European country with comparatively low labor costs. The modules manufactured in Europe can so be sold to neighboring regions.

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