Weak PV deployment in Europe: Manufacturer Still Face Hard Times

3/10/16, 10:00 AM -

The global market in PV is on speed and gaining more momentum towards accelerating growth. In contradiction: The new deployments in Europe pace very slow, some experts talk about stagnation with 8 GW last year. The surviving manufacturers of solar modules and inverters still face hard times – no end in sight.

Boiling of silicon for solar wafer production at the Solarworld factory in Thuringia.

In 2013 the number of new installations had its peak with 20 GW. Since then the market dropped sharply, only 8 GW are left – less than half of it. Gaëtan Masson, who works at the Belgian Becquerel Institute, has no reason for optimism. „Some studies predict an annual deployment of 10 GW until 2020“, he said at the PV conference in Bavarian Bad Staffelstein. „But I do not believe it neither.“

The old energy industry keeps the grip on politics

For him the European markets are very depending on the political scene. The obstacles are high, too many interests are involved. PV is a danger for the traditional big business in energy sector. And political systems are still closely linked with those structures.

But there is some light at the end of the tunnel: Europe has still strong producers like Solarword (modules), ABB and SMA (inverter) which are very successful in the global PV game. “And we have excellent researcher and scientific institute to drive the technology.”

European companies gain ground

In the last 2 years of market crisis the market share of European producers have been rising – the influence of Asian competitors shrinks. But nevertheless there are hard times ahead. But: More important than the real production figures is the leading of international companies from Europe HQ’s. Masson concluded: “Know-how is more important than factories.” (TS, HS)