The European Photovoltaic Industry will be invested 740 million euro in R&D in the European plans for achieving competitiveness in all segments of technology. The plan, presented in Madrid this week, will help provide photovoltaic solar energy 12% of the electricity demand in the European Union in 2020.

The Association of European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and the European Photovoltaic Technology Platform presented at the SET Plan Conference held on 3 and 4 June in Madrid under the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the EU Initiative European Photovoltaic Solar Industry to achieve competitiveness in the sales prices for residential and commercial sectors.

The plan provides that during the next three years would be necessary to invest 1,235 million euros in R&D to reduce costs and improve the connection between electricity and photovoltaic systems. 60% of that amount will be contributed by the private sector (some 740 million euro), while the rest corresponds to the European Commission and European Union countries.

The work undertaken since a year ago by EPIA and the European Photovoltaic Technology Platform with the European Commission and members of the Union has begun to bear fruit. Sixteen countries have expressed their commitment to supporting the Photovoltaic Solar Initiative of the European Industry has identified three common priorities: advanced manufacturing processes for all photovoltaic technologies aimed at reducing costs and improving efficiency, development of photovoltaic products building integrated (BIPV) and applications to facilitate and reduce integration costs the same, and outdoor test concentrator photovoltaic technology. In the longer term, address the development of smart materials and modules to facilitate integration into the network.

Virgilio Navarro, vice president of EPIA ATERSA and CEO, explained that the increase in production capacity is as important as R&D and for them it is necessary to maintain public support in the form of tariffs. “R&D is not sufficient by itself and has no impact on competitiveness if not accompanied by an increase in volumes and market development. The 40% decline in prices that occurred last year and 50% of the last two years confirms that political support is still needed to achieve the economies of scale through increased production.”

EPIA believes it is also necessary to address improving access to market regulations, strengthen the distribution network and increase transmission capacity.

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