Europe's photovoltaic industry needs €1.24bn investment - EPIA

01 June 2010 18:10  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--The European photovoltaic industry must invest €1.24bn ($1.53bn) into research and development (R&D) in the next three years in order to improve its competitiveness with established conventional energies, a trade body said on Tuesday.

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) said that investment into R&D was necessary to cut the cost of photovoltaic production and to improve the connection between electricity grids and photovoltaic systems. This would help the industry compete with retail electricity prices for residential and commercial sectors, as well as with conventional fossil fuels for industrial applications, it added.

Almost 60% of the investment would be provided by the private sector while the remaining amount needed to be balanced out by the European Commission and EU member states.

The EPIA said €1.24bn was needed to be invested over the next three years, in order for solar PV supply to contribute 12% towards EU electricity demand by 2020.

The EPIA added that the European PV industry should also increase production volumes in order to be competitive.

The rise in demand for 'greener' and cleaner energy sources, specifically for solar panels, has fuelled the increasing need for solar photovoltaic cells, and the demand for raw materials produced by chemical companies, such as polysilicon.

In April, DuPont announced it expected to increase its photovoltaic sales by 50% in 2010 due to strong growth in solar industry markets in Europe, North America and parts of Asia.

Eric Nichols, vice president for business management at Saflex, a subsidiary of US producer Solutia, said the global photovoltaic market was likely to grow at an annual rate of 25% in remarks he made at the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC) in March.

($1 = €0.81)

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By: Franco Capaldo
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