The photovoltaic boom in Europe is now reflected in EU trade statistics. Imports from China of PV modules, which are used to generate electricity from solar energy, have tripled over the year. While €885 million worth of panels were imported in February, this value rose to €2.6 billion in August and remained at this level in September, according to Eurostat data evaluated by Bruegel.
Imports of solar panels are a good indicator of the expansion of photovoltaic cells in Europe. “So this is very good news,” German energy economist Lion Hirth wrote on Twitter. Bruegel analyst Giovanni Sgaravatti, who was involved in the evaluation, wrote that the increase was not due to a price effect, as the increase in tons was similar.
Huawei on the rise in inverters
The import dependency for photovoltaic solar energy (PV), on the other hand, increased further. In June 2022, 90 percent of all panels imported into the EU were produced in China. China has dominated the solar module market for several years and the US is also heavily dependent. The Chinese manufacturer Huawei is on the rise when it comes to inverters that convert the direct current from the panels into grid-compatible alternating current. With SMA from Germany and Fronius from Austria, there are also major European manufacturers here.
There are also first figures for Austria on this year’s photovoltaic boom, which was fueled by the war in Ukraine, high electricity prices and the climate crisis. As a result, the installed capacity will almost double this year. According to the industry radar, 632 megawatt peak (MWp) will be added. The nominal capacity thus rises from 738 MWp to 1370 MWp. In 2021, the installed capacity had more than doubled, from 338 to 738 MWp.
I’m Ben Stock, a journalist and author at Today Times Live. I specialize in economic news and have been working in the news industry for over five years. My experience spans from local journalism to international business reporting. In my career I’ve had the opportunity to interview some of the world’s leading economists and financial experts, giving me an insight into global trends that is unique among journalists.