State aid exemptions for european solar manufacturers
The European PV manufacturing industry, ESIA, and the European Commission should operationalize emergency measures as soon as possible with an open mind, a dedicated effort, and concrete breakthrough proposals for scaling up European solar manufacturing.
European solar manufacturing is witnessing the emergence of a new, strategically important instrument – the European Solar PV Industry Alliance (ESIA), a long-awaited framework for better coordination of policy incentives and practical arrangements to bring PV manufacturing back to Europe. ESIA was launched in Brussels on Dec. 9 and the months ahead will be a litmus test for the European political and industrial community to check the seriousness of intent for a PV manufacturing renaissance in Europe.
The European Solar Manufacturing Council (ESMC) in December made overtures to the European Commission about what the bloc’s planned ESIA organization should address. The fundamental dilemma for Brussels is whether to stick to its internal-market fair-trade principles, and thus surrender any chance of competitive renewables manufacturing in Europe, or to distance itself from its long-held approach to trade. The ESMC says the answer is to take temporary, emergency action to help European solar manufacturing get onto its feet without abandoning, in the longer-term, the EU’s core values.
If Europe is to come up with its own Inflation Reduction Act moment, and incentivize a return of EU solar manufacturing leadership, it must lift state-aid related restrictions on the PV manufacturers who have announced a willingness to build 30 GW of production lines.
European solar ambitions cannot be viewed in isolation from the US policy drive but the EU is a hostage to its commitment to leveling the trade playing field among its member states, without reference to external markets. The energy crisis is further threatening the competitiveness of European industry. European solar manufacturers want an IRA moment in the EU, to avoid the continent becoming totally dependent on a mix of the current Chinese imports and future, made-in-America PV products.
Commitment to leveling the trade playing field among its member states, without reference to external markets. The energy crisis is further threatening the competitiveness of European industry manufactures want an IRA moment in the EU, to avoid the continent becoming totally dependent on a mix of the current Chinese imports and future made-in-America PV products.