The Future of Europe’s PV Market
Earlier this month, I attended the world’s largest exhibition for the solar industry, Intersolar Europe, which reflects the dynamic developments along the entire value added chain in the areas of photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal technology. Under the principle of connecting solar businesses, Intersolar brings together solar industry manufacturers, suppliers, institutes and associations, many of which use this time to discuss industry trends and challenges.
One of the most popular topics discussed was how the recent decision by the German government coalition to cut back PV solar electricity funding would impact Europe’s PV market. Despite major concessions from the industry, the decision to reduce the solar feed-in tariff (FiT) is considered drastic. However, at the show, opinions on the impact of these changes were mixed — half felt 2011 would be a down year for expansion compared to 2010, while the other half predicted steady growth ahead. This topic is of the utmost importance to companies as they examine ways to expand their businesses throughout the continent.
It is key for companies in this growing industry to stand together when it comes to regulations that affect the whole sector of renewable energies in general and PV solar in particular. In other words, we need to rise up and speak with one voice to decision-makers on the European Union level and the Member States in order to point to growth opportunities ahead.
As reported, the world’s biggest market for solar PV — Germany — created more than 60,000 new jobs in 2009, banking on sales of nearly $13 billion and new installations of 3.8 gigawatts (GW), pushing the overall capacity to almost 10 GW.
Applied Materials’ presence at the trade fair was prominent with a large number of guests visiting our booth to learn about our range of products and our work in the industry. Intersolar proved to be a good opportunity to raise awareness about our innovative PV manufacturing solutions and the contributions Applied Materials is making to help Europe reach its goal in growing renewable energy use as well as reduce green house gas emissions.