PV Days 2022: Experts discuss comeback of German solar industry
The opportunities and challenges of a comeback of the German solar industry were discussed by about 70 experts during the PV Days of the Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics CSP in Halle (Saale), which took place again for the first time on October 19 and 20, 2022, after a break due to the pandemic. The refocusing of the Fraunhofer CSP was also presented at this annual research and industry workshop.
According to the German government's plans, the share of electricity generated from renewable energies in total electricity consumption is to rise from just under 50 percent at present to 80 percent by 2030. This not only requires significantly more solar parks and wind turbines, but also a significant expansion of the solar industry. The current energy crisis lends additional emphasis to this demand.
Therefore, the comeback of the solar industry in Germany was the central topic of the PV Days at Fraunhofer CSP. During the two-day conference, about 70 experts discussed the opportunities and challenges of a changing market environment, the possibilities of new applications for photovoltaics, the quality requirements for a successful photovoltaic market, and questions about supply chains and the production of photovoltaic systems.
Workshop participants expect production capacity to double over the next two years and installations to increase fivefold over the next four years. They saw the biggest challenges as financing capacity expansion, global supply chains, production outages, and staff recruitment. "The presentations and discussions during this year's PV Days showed that optimism is returning to the industry. Both the German and international markets are developing rapidly. This growth will continue steadily over the next ten years to meet installation requirements," summarizes Prof. Ralph Gottschalg, head of Fraunhofer CSP.
In the course of these developments, Fraunhofer CSP has decided to reposition itself. In the future, topics will be positioned more broadly and the research focus will move from technology innovation to quality assurance of materials, components and modules as well as their manufacturing processes. In addition, newly-formed research groups will be dedicated to the issues of intelligent photovoltaic system operation, the grid integration of solar energy and the possibilities that hydrogen can offer as an energy carrier. "The industry is on a sustainable growth path and Fraunhofer CSP will support this with market-oriented research. Since its foundation, the CSP has been a reliable research and development partner for the Central German photovoltaic industry," adds Gottschalg.
According to Ralph Gottschalg, Fraunhofer CSP also wants to reorient itself with regard to the PV Days starting next year in order to focus more on a regional audience: "Central Germany is the heart of the German solar industry and our workshop should be its central meeting point."