More solar factories and more production in Europe and Germany
China is the world's most important supplier of photovoltaic technology: around 87 per cent of the components imported into Germany last year came from there. The value of the imported goods was around 3.1 billion euros. These figures were announced by the German Federal Statistical Office.
Market draws the industry back to Europe
Now the strong European solar market and the high energy prices are providing enough pull to unleash investments in new factories. The solar industry is returning to Europe for economic reasons. This is because proximity to customers and lower risks due to maritime trade and currency transactions give European manufacturers an edge in Europe.
Futurasun: New Gigafactory in Italy
For example, the module manufacturer Futurasun is expanding its capacities with a new factory in Cittadella near Padua. Futurasun has bought a plot of land in the industrial area of Cittadella for this purpose. A new module factory is to be built on the 24,000 square metre site, which will produce up to two gigawatts per year. Futurasun is investing 25 million euros.
Envelon produces modules for facades
Coloured modules in different sizes and shapes is Envelon's speciality. The company started up its new factory for facade modules in Hamlar, Bavaria, in spring.
The new factory will exclusively produce solar elements for facades. With this, Envelon wants to help architects with modern new buildings and renovation projects.
Solitek plans 600 megawatts
Another example is the company Solitek from Lithuania. The Baltic module manufacturer is taking advantage of the more cost-effective economic climate in Italy and the growing demand for solar power. The planned plant is to produce around 600 megawatts a year.
Almost 50 million euros will be invested in Italy. It is expected to take three years to set up production. Part of the funding comes from grants from the European Commission. The company is financing the rest from its own capital. Solitek plans to start construction in the second quarter of 2024.
SMA doubles capacity in Kassel
Demand is high for modules, and it is being met by manufacturers. The shortage of inverters is almost desperate. The market seems to be empty. New factories for microchips and power components are not springing up as fast as factories for solar modules.
Nevertheless, there is also some news among inverter manufacturers. SMA wants to drill its factory in Kassel to 40 gigawatts. The ground breaking ceremony for the new Gigawatt Factory took place at the beginning of May. From 2024, more inverters could then be delivered. So far, SMA's capacity in Kassel is around 21 gigawatts.
200 new jobs will be created in Niestetal. A plot of land at the headquarters will be given to the project planning company for the new building. It plans the production hall according to SMA's specifications. SMA then rents the factory back.
Kostal expands in Hagen
Kostal Solar Electric will produce four times as many hybrid inverters by 2025 as it did in 2021. The German premium supplier is currently massively expanding its capacities. In addition, Kostal has set up two new laboratories. Here, the development of new devices is being driven forward.
In addition, a new test field with an output of 250 kilowatts has been built. In Hagen, the engineers can test the inverters and storage units that will be introduced in the near future. (HS/mfo)