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BRUSSELS, APRIL 15. In response to the challenges for the European solar manufacturing industry, the European Commission has proposed the European Solar Charter (ESC), aimed at strengthening the industry through Member States commitments and the support of the European Commission. This evening, the Charter has been signed in Brussels by the 23 EU Member States, the European Commission, European Solar Manufacturing Council (ESMC) and SolarPower Europe (SPE). It is also endorsed by the European industrial stakeholders – solar PV manufacturing and other companies of solar sector, among them ESMC members (see ESC below for details). ESMC congratulates the ESC and appreciates the European Commission for the leadership in delivering ESC as a starting point to address the pressing issues of the European PV manufacturing industry. ESC is a good initial step towards the right direction, but it should be further operationalised by the concrete follow-up actions to address the pressing needs and critical issues of the European PV manufacturing sector.

The European Solar Charter marks a crucial moment, drawing much-needed political attention to our domestic solar industry. While the Charter alone is not sufficient to rebuild a robust European photovoltaic value chain, we hope it will work as a rallying point for accelerating concrete measures and serve as a signal that the European Union is not yet ready to hand in a walk-over in the competition with China, the US and India.

Dr. Johan LindahlSecretary-General of ESMC, in Brussels at the signing event

Recognizing the necessity for a comprehensive framework, the ESMC co-signed ESC but wants to emphasize at the same time that the concrete deliverables of ESC will depend on the following three essential next steps taken without delay.

Member States commitment to quantitative off-take targets of resilient EU PV modules

ESMC is encouraging the EU Member States by June 2024 at the latest to commit to specific quantitative targets, such as a percentage of resilient EU PV modules for deployment projects, ensuring a sustainable supply of high-quality solar PV products in Europe. ESC is a Member States commitment to early implementation of the provisions of the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA), but the commitment would be sound in case would be delivered in concrete quantities of European-produced solar PV modules. ESMC is prepared to work in a close dialogue with the Member States to transfer the demand request of the European PV manufacturing industry to the Member States.

Dialogue with off-takers followed by the concrete commitments

Constructive discussions with European off-takers have to be initiated to include defined percentages of resilient EU PV modules in their portfolios as soon as possible. This engagement aims to boost demand for European-produced PV modules, fostering industry growth. ESMC is looking forward for inclusion in the portfolios of the relevant market players, such as wholesalers, distributors and installers, solar PV products commensurate to the EU’s manufacturing capacity meeting high resilience, sustainability and responsible business conduct criteria as highlighted in the commitments of ESC.

Bridge funding to secure Final Investment Decisions

Access to EU funding must be facilitated for the European PV manufacturing projects to achieve at least 10 GW of additional Final Investment Decisions by 2025. This initiative aims to close the financing gap and expedite the expansion of PV manufacturing capacities across Europe.

ESMC request the EU Member States and the European Commission that the outlined steps be prioritized as immediate follow-up actions in ESC implementation.

The European solar PV manufacturing industry needs clear, measurable, and tangible targets along with political support in this crisis. We sincerely hope that the ESC can serve as a platform for these kind of commitments in the Member States. The signature of the ESC is just a start of framing the commitments, accordingly, ESMC invites the signatories of ESC to deliver measurable targets by the follow-up actions in three key areas without delay for the conclusion of the respective quantitative commitments.

Photo: Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union / Julien Nizet

Johan Lindahl
ESMC Secretary General

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Žygimantas Vaičiūnas
ESMC Policy Director

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