Calls for new PV cell concepts, increased automation in production, and standardisation during 24th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
The 24th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition in Hamburg (EU PVSEC) ended on Friday after five very busy days. Until Thursday, 943 international manufacturers, suppliers and service providers covering every aspect of PV took part as exhibitors, attracting over 40,000 visitors.
During the 24th EU PVSEC, many new trends and developments in PV were presented and up for discussion. Among the many topics covered, the debate centred on new cell concepts for the future, increased automation in production, and standardisation. New manufacturing processes and production machinery for silicon and thin-film technology were showcased on the 65,000 sqm exhibition area. Numerous exhibitors even displayed entire production lines, some of them operating. Cutting-edge measurement and control equipment for quality assurance in cell manufacturing was also unveiled. Production samples of large panels of glass with a photovoltaic finish illustrated the rapid advances being made in the field of thin-film solar technology.
In parallel with the exhibition, the international scientific conference of the 24th EU PVSEC also attracted 4,295 delegates, attracted by a broad spectrum of topics spanning every area of photovoltaics. David Nelson, Senior Partner and Head of Design at Foster + Partners, London (England), gave the keynote speech entitled “Sustainability and the Future of the City”. Nelson presented his thoughts on the objectives of responsible architectural planning, making reference to the new zero-emissions Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. He illustrated how the idea of sustainability in architecture still harbours immense potential.
The PV Policy Debate focusing on the “EU Renewable Energy Directive” on 22 September marked another highlight of the 24th EU PVSEC. The international panel discussed the impact of the “EU Renewable Energy Directive” on the European PV industry and on PV markets. A lively debate including high-ranking specialists from throughout the European Union and the USA was chaired by Roger Harrabin, Environment Analyst for BBC News.
12% of electricity market share in Europe by 2020
In the course of the 24th EU PVSEC, the 6th European PV Industry Forum on 23 September presented the results of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association’s and AT Kearney’s study ‘SET for 2020’. The study establishes a vision for the industry to achieve a market share of up to 12% in the electricity sector in Europe by 2020. Michael Splinter of Applied Materials gave the industry perspective on this goal and Hans-Josef Fell, Member of the German Bundestag, discussed the feed-in-tariff’s decisive contribution to the development of PV. Interesting presentations on the topic were also given by the key stakeholders outside of the PV community. Moving towards smart cities, designing smart grids, the role of energy storage and the breakthroughs in electric vehicles were all emphasized as areas where the PV industry should work together in close collaboration with the other relevant industries to achieve this 2020 goal.
All areas of PV were covered in more than 1,300 plenary and specialist presentations as well as visual poster presentations. Papers on the new organic photovoltaic cells generated particular interest.
Prof. Wim Sinke, from the ECN Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, acted as General Conference Chairman, comments: “This 24th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition was held at the right moment in time and has generated important messages for the PV sector itself, for governments working on their national action plans to reach the EU 2020 targets and for society as a whole. There is not a trace of doubt that PV solar energy is crucial for the transition to a sustainable energy system. Globally, on a European level, and on country level. It is not just a long term option, but a short term reality which should have a clear position in these action plans. To contribute to the 2020 targets and to lay the foundation for much bigger contributions after that. I am convinced that the problems the PV sector faces at this moment are no more than ripples on a robust trend of growth for decades to come.”
Dr. Peter Helm, Executive Conference Director stated: “Photovoltaics has ample scope for development. In fact, it is still in its infancy. Over the next few years we will see the appearance of cell concepts offering much higher performance. The research results are quite clear about that.. The 24th EU PVSEC is the most important international platform for presenting and discussing such developments.”
In his speech to the Closing Session of the 24th EU PVSEC, Dr. Heinz Ossenbrink of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, and Technical Programme Chairman, emphasized the progress PV technologies have demonstrated during this Conference. “The costs will continue to decrease with the results achieved in terms of processing, material consumption, high and volume manufacturing equipment. There also is a very dynamic and innovative community presenting entirely new concepts and announcing new technology start-ups. In the upcoming 12 months until the next EU PVSEC many unknowns of this week, such as the impact of Europe’s Renewably Energy Directive, the financial crisis, commitment to CO2 reductions or even changed governments will have a major impact on the progress of PV solar energy.“
New format in 2010
The Conference Executive Committee of the 24th EU PVSEC announced during the event that next year’s 25th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition will be a joint Conference with the 5th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion. The 5th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion will unite the three most important scientific and strategic conferences for the global PV solar sector: the 25th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, the 36th US IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference and the 20th Asia/Pacific PV Science and Engineering Conference.
The joint event will take place in Valencia (Spain) from 6-10 September 2010 (Conference: 6-10 September 2010, Exhibition: 6-9 September 2010).