Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE (Fraunhofer ISE) has published its most current Photovoltaics Report (PV Report 2021). It summarizes and documents facts about photovoltaics in the European Union and worldwide, especially the development of the photovoltaic market, solar cell and module efficiency as well as prices in the last decades. The executive summary of the report can be downloaded at: https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/de/documents/publications/studies/Photovoltaics-Report.pdf
According to the Fraunhofer ISE, the goal is the preparation of data from a wide variety of sources in one report and making it easily accessible. In addition to updated figures on photovoltaic production, installation and performance, the latest edition of the PV Report 2021 also contains data that has been compiled for the first time in this issue. For example, EPBT, the energy payback time indicates the amount of time a power plant must operate to provide the amount of energy invested in it. The report shows the historical development as well as comparable values of the EPBT for different regions. The Energy Payback Time of solar PV systems is dependent on the geographical location, In concrete, the report offers an insight into the energy payback time of a typical, Chinese-made, 60-cell, PERC, 19.9%-efficient solar module. Such a panel, mounted in India, would take only 0.44 years (160.6 days) to generate the amount of energy consumed during its production process, with 468.5 days (1.28 years in Central Europe, and with the figure rising all the way to 1.42 years (518.3 days) in Canada. In the examples named by the report’s authors, the balance-of-system, non-generating components required the most time to displace their energy footprint, between 138.7 and 167.9 days.
In addition, a European overview shows production capacities along the PV value chain for materials: silicon, ingots & wafers, solar cells and modules in each member state. This shows that, particularly in the module sector, production facilities are in operation in many European countries. Those add up to a total capacity of circa 6.75 GWp per year.
According to the executive summary, the European continent had production capacity of 30.2 GWp of metallurgical grade silicon, 22.1 GWp of solar-grade polysilicon production capacity at the end of 2020. Europe’s polysilicon capacity was held by Norwegian-based, Chinese state-controlled manufacturer Elkem, and by German businesses Wacker and Silicon Products.
By contrast, Europe had just 1.25 GWp of ingot & solar wafer production capacity at the end of 2020, based in Norway (Norsun and REC Silicon-owned Norwegian Crystals), and in France (EDF‘s Photowatt). The lack of European cell manufacturing capacity is even more manifest, with the report estimating just 650 MWp of facilities, held by Finnish business Valoe (at its factory in Lithuania), by Italian energy business Enel, and by Ecosolifer, in Hungary.
Despite the dramatic shift in module production from Europe to Asia witnessed from 2010 onwards, Germany accounted for 7.6% of all the solar capacity installed worldwide by the end of last year, with Europe as a whole hosting 23%, China 36%, North America 12%, Japan 9%, India 6% and the rest of the world 14%, including off-grid capacity.
Despite the dramatic shift in module production from Europe to Asia witnessed from 2010 onwards, Europe accounted for 23% of all the solar capacity installed worldwide by the end of last year, with China 36%, North America 12%, Japan 9%, India 6% and the rest of the world 14%, including off-grid capacity.