pv magazine Roundtables Europe 2022: Back to the future

For day two's action as it unfolds...

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And that's a wrap!

That about wraps us up for day one of pv magazine‘s Roundtables Europe event, although there's plenty of group sessions going ahead as we speak.

Feel free to join in, otherwise, join us tomorrow for more solar fun and japes!

Fiddling with the roof

Realistic deployment of solar modules on car bodyshapes – and panels for more heavy-duty vehicles – can extend range, removing the potential frustration of trying to find the nearest charging station, as well as making for a more enjoyable journey thanks to solar-powered air con.

No one's asked Lightyear solar engineer Emanuele Cornagliotti how many of the company's employees will be able to afford its first model, mind…


A real sunroof

Now it's time for the session devoted to whatever the clean-energy equivalent of petrol-heads are.

Jonathan Gifford and electric vehicle industry experts will peer into the future to find out what the cars of tomorrow (or even today) might look like, and the services they'll be able to offer us.

The state of play

If you're just dropping in for our afternoon session, Nicola Rossi, of Italian energy company Enel, and Norsun's Carsten Rohr have been talking us through existing plans to get solar production lines on the ground in Europe.

Now though, we're on another short break before we return with the PV on wheels session, so get networking!


What will European solar panels look like?

Representatives from German solar manufacturing equipment suppliers Von Ardenne and Isra Vision are discussing what sort of tech will form the basis of European-made solar panels in the years ahead.

Von Ardenne's Sebastian Gatz explained European manufacturers will find it difficult to compete with Asian rivals because they will lack the 400 GW of annual silicon wafer production capacity available in China; because of the cost of Perc cell production, which Chinese manufacturers have screwed down through big economies of scale; and because Perc cells and modules are already almost at their theoretical efficiency limits.

Therefore, he added, “n-type technology is entering the game.”

Asked by pv magazine‘s Jonathan Gifford which n-type technology will prevail in Europe, heterojunction (HJT) or TopCon (tunnel oxide, passivated contact), Gatz pointed out the former has the lower carbon footprint.

Back under way

Solar star Walburga Hemetsberger, of trade body SolarPower Europe, is fleshing out how the industry lobby group can help the EU get 20 GW of annual solar manufacturing capacity installed across the bloc by 2025.


Thanks to our sponsors

pv magazine would like to extend a massive thank you to all of our sponsors who have helped make the Roundtables Europe 2022 possible!

It's lunchtime!

But there's plenty going on at our Roundtables event in case you're at a loose end until the 2pm restart. Why not have a look and explore the links below the broadcast screen.

Ciao for now!

Tomorrow's world

Worryingly, for people like me who haven't worked out how to switch on Netflix from their TV remote yet, we're now into territory such as real-time energy consumption and pricing and houses crammed full with smart appliances and such.

Jaron Schaechter, from Israeli inverter maker and energy storage business SolarEdge, has just predicted the mobility revolution is expected to bring vehicle-to-home deployment first of all, with the far more complex business of harnessing electric cars for grid back-up to arrive further down the line.

What's happening on Chinese production lines?

We are into our third session of the day, entitled How to decarbonize homes today, and Insan Boy, of Chinese PV manufacturer Seraphim Solar has been offering us an insight into the technological trends we can expect from module manufacturers in the months and years ahead.

What are they? Sign up here and join the event!


Get nettin'

Now there'll be a short break, indicated on screen by this charming elevator music, for you to get involved in our networking sessions before we head into the next event: How to decarbonize homes today.

'Manufacturers will have to take ESG seriously'

“Manufacturers will consider sustainability quite carefully in their future production,” said University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney professor Alison Lennon.

That's thanks to the looming threat of legislation such as taxes on carbon content, whether applied directly at source or by export markets, such as the EU and its plan for a catchily-titled Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, or Cbam.

Professor Lennon was discussing the huge amount of silver that would be required to hit global new solar estimates, using current panel designs.

As Ines Monroy, of German energy company Steag pointed out, small measures – such as reducing the size of solar panel frames – can have big impacts.

A greener Trina?

Trina's Adele Zhao has been illustrating how the Chinese solar giant is delivering on the ESG promises made in its corporate documents.

Having shipped more than 100 GW of solar modules to date, and developed more than 5.5 GW of utility scale solar plants, the photovoltaic panel manufacturing process used by the company could have a huge environmental impact.

Adele showed us the figures to illustrate how the business is trying to bear down on that issue, with Trina claiming it reduced its natural gas consumption per megawatt of solar panel generation capacity manufactured by 50.92% from 2020 to 2021. For the same period, water consumption per megawatt also fell, by 46.19%.

Handily, the means Trina is also saving on its utility bills, neatly displaying the commercial rationale for effective ESG policies.

ESG, what does it mean in real terms?

Becky Beetz has opened our second session of the day, which will consider what truly environmental, social and governance policies can do to improve solar industry standards.

Are they a credible method of improve the industry's practices or just a load more greenwash?


Bring it back

Meyer Burger's Moritz Borgmann has pointed out the irony of ramping up solar for European energy security motives by sourcing it from China.

“How do we get from today, where we have basically zero PV industry,” asked Borgmann, who acknowledged his own employer is encompassed by that underwhelming assessment, “… to a fully developed, world scale PV industry, including all the suppliers and all the materials that it requires?”

And that's not just silicon feedstock, he pointed out, but “also the [backsheet] films, the cables, the junction boxes etc.”

One-stop solar permitting

Pablo Collado, of Spanish power company Iberdrola, has hailed the success of the European Union's attempts to streamline the permitting of solar parks but warned: “I don't know if we have time for a formal [EU] process, I think we need something in between … and, in parallel, to work with Brussels.”

Made in Europe?

While the rush to roll out solar at record-breaking pace is completely understandable, Meyer Burger's Moritz Borgmann has emphasized we also need to think about where those panels are manufactured – and how.

And we're off!

Michael Fuhs and Jonathan Gifford are getting us under way in the studio.

We've learned German state secretary for economic affairs and Oliver Krischer cannot attend today, so that's a climate politician failing to deliver – who'd have thought?

Coming up today

This year, pv magazine‘s European Roundtables will focus on the role of decarbonization right throughout the European continent and economy. More than 60 speakers will join us across two days and 10 sessions to address key topics including meeting ESG criteria by raising solar manufacturing standards, solar electric vehicles, novel solar applications, and high efficiency PV cell and module manufacturing concepts. The main stage program will be in English but we will also be hosting German, Spanish, and French networking discussions and break-out sessions with our European moderators. Check out the agenda and register here.

Let's get to it!

We've got various networking sessions going on as we speak, before the presentations get under way at 10am so, if you want to get involved, get yourself here to register.

Thanks to our sponsors

pv magazine would like to extend a massive thank you to all of our sponsors who have helped make the Roundtables Europe 2022 possible!

On the menu

Coming up today, we have five packed sessions, with a number of expert speakers. Starting at 10am CEST, the topics we’ll be covering are:

  • Session 1 |A clean and free Europe
  • Session 2 |Sustainability in practice: Raising the corporate sustainability bar
  • Session 3 |How to decarbonize homes today
  • Session 4 |Made in Europe: Bulking up, building out
  • Session 5 |PV on wheels: Solar electric vehicles are growing in number and sophistication

Make sure you register for free to stay informed!