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Policy topics

ESMC is the organisation representing the interests of the European PV manufacturing industry. The Council relies on key industrial companies, organisations  and research centers active in the PV sector rooted in Europe. ESMC aims at promoting and supporting  the PV manufacturing industry and its value chain at the European level, speaking with one voice. 

Picture ©Imec

General strategy of ESMC

The European PV manufacturing industry has the last decade led a dwindling existence. However, the European Solar Manufacturing Council (ESMC) sees an opportunity for a European solar renaissance with great potential of creating strong and sustainable Intereuropean value chains.

ESMCs strategy focuses on making PV a central element of the energy transformation process in Europe, through a sustainable yet ambitious development of PV installations, in combination with a dynamic and competitive manufacturing industry covering the entire PV value chain on European soil.

To achieve these goals, the ESMC envisions a set of policies and regulations aiming at developing the PV market and the massive redevelopment of all segments of the PV value chain in Europe. This industry will feed the expected massive development of PV installations in Europe and globally.

  • ESMC has formulated a general strategy with market information and  concrete focus areas. Below is the 2021 version of our general Strategy Document.

  • In the latest update of the EU industrial strategy, published on 5th of May, the significance of PV manufacturing in the EU has finally been addressed.
  • Following the EU industrial strategy, ESMC have requested for a meeting with EU commissioners to further discuss the EU strategy on strengthening conditions and creating suitable incentives for PV manufacturing.

Specific policy topics we are working on

EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF)

The combination of European Green Deal targets, a post-Covid-19 environment and the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) creates unique opportunities for Europe to strengthen and restore the PV value chain and manufacturing industry.

ESMC are engaged in dialogues with both the European Commission, about the general RRF framework, and key Member States, about their national Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRP).

  • ESMC created a Statement addressing the RRF and the national RRP.
  • The Statement was followed by meetings with national politicians or officials discussing the national RRPs. 

  • ‘The answer to our the statement, from commissioner Kadri Simson, acknowledged our concern about the mismatch between the ambitious plans of deployment of PV and the funds allocated to PV manufacturing expansions in the different national RRPs.

  • We have evaluated all Member States’ endorsed RRPs  with respect to PV manufacturing to identify and summarize the opportunities for European PV industry actors to receive support from the RRF. 

Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI)

The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for the possibility of approving state aid for ‘Important Projects of Common European Interest’ (IPCEI). IPCEIs allow European Member States to jointly support transnational cooperation projects with major synergies that make an important contribution to economic growth, jobs and the competitiveness of the EU industry and economy. One of ESMC goals is to create an IPCEI for PV manufacturing.

  • ESMC’s Policy Director Mr Vaičiūnas gathered support from 8 EU Member States for a PV IPCEI in his previous role as the Lithuanian Energy Minister.

  • ESMC has produced a one-pager that summarizes the benefits for the Member States participating in the work to create an IPCEI for Solar PV Manufacturing. Here, potential partners can get answers to the most FAQ.

EcoDesign & Energy Labelling

The European Commission is considering environmental policies for PV and are considering the mandatory policies Eco-Design for modules and inverters and Energy Labelling for PV systems, in addition to voluntary Eco-Label and Green Public Procurement. ESMC is following the development and supports the European Commission with expert input.

  • ESMC initiated a Joint Mission Group under ETIP-PV.
  • This Joint Mission Group produced an Expert Input Paper.

ESMC has been providing input to the policy development process of environmental policies for PV modules, inverters and systems, such as EcoDesign and Energy Labelling. Most recently,  ESMC provided input on the public consultation of the Ultra-Low Carbon Solar (ULCS) Criterion. 

In late 2021, ESMC provided feedback to the European Commission regarding the Inception Impact Assessment.

Carbon Boarder Adjustment Mechanism

In an effort to avoid carbon leakage, which occurs when companies transfer production to countries that are less strict about emissions, the European Parliament has adopted a resolution backing the introduction of an EU carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM). This new mechanism would counteract this risk by putting a carbon price on imports of certain goods from outside the EU. ESMC is monitoring the development and the consequences for the PV manufacturing industry.

  • ESMC is monotoring the development.

Renewable Energy Directive

In December 2018, the recast Renewable Energy Directive 2018/2001/EU on the promotion of the use of renewable energy (RED II) entered into force, as part of the Clean energy for all Europeans package. ESMC oversee the interests of the PV manufacturing industry in the revisions of the directive.

  • ESMC has replied to the 2021 consultation on the review of directive 2018/2001/EU

Environment footprint in the french tender system

Promoting the development of manufacturing capacities for sustainable PV products in Europe requires to implement supporting policies without slowing down market development. In this respect, we consider that the French example with CO2 footprint elements in their tenders are a good example and ESMC have been promoting to keep this setup in France.

  • ESMC together with its French member organisations formulated a position statement on the negotiations.

Jobs and Economy

For over two decades, Europe has been leading the technological development, state of the art manufacturing, sustainability of production, quality, and efficiency of solar PV products. However, the European PV manufacturing industry has in the last years been suffering from fierce competition from the rising giants from Asia. Yet, the industry is not dead. ESMC strive to get the PV manufacturing industry recognized as a sector of strategic importance for the EU economy, providing energy independence, industrial jobs, and economic growth and to demonstrate this added value of PV manufacturing to key stakeholders.

  • In the latest Strategy document, ESMC have analysed the potential and current industrial jobs, and economic growth and will keep demonstrating the added value of PV manufacturing to key stakeholders.

Trade Analyses

To concretize the current situation of a majority of the PV modules installed in Europe being imported from Asia, a customs data analysis was conducted by ESMC. In the analysis, the most dominant trade flows were mapped out, as well as the monetary value of the trade.  

  • As a step in demonstating the massive import dependency from Asia, a trade flow analysis has been conducted.

Our Working Groups

In order to create a favorable political environment and support the PV manufacturing industry in Europe, the European Solar Manufacturing Council (ESMC) initiated three working groups.

Policy Mapping Working Group

This working group aims at identifying relevant policies (already in place, under development or potential new policies) impacting the PV market demand and more importantly European PV manufacturers.

Eco-Design Working Group

The concrete objective of this Joint Mission Group is to produce an Expert Input Paper with a common position towards the European Commission in the initiative of setting up sustainable product policy instruments (criteria development of the EC policies). 

IPCEI Working Group

This working group launched in 2021 will aim at shaping a PV industry IPCEI at European Level bringing together European manufacturers and National Governments with the aim to enable co-financing of PV industry development in Europe