MEP Christian Ehler Visits Oxford PV: Discussion of Urgent Questions and Insights into the Future of European Photovoltaics
On October 20, Oxford PV, a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, welcomed Member of the European Parliament Christian Ehler to its manufacturing facility in Brandenburg an der Havel for a discussion on the present and future of the European solar industry.
Ehler, a member of the European Party “Europäische Volkspartei”, is the rapporteur for the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) currently being negotiated at the EU level. This legislative act represents one of the European Union's most significant efforts to bolster the production of so-called "net-zero technologies," especially those of strategic importance to Europe's sovereignty, in an increasingly competitive global environment. Market-distorting subsidy policies in China and extensive support programs in the United States and India have put pressure on European manufacturers.
Innovative technologies, such as high-efficiency solar cells based on perovskite silicon, face significant challenges due to the ongoing scaling process. Maintaining and expanding Europe's and Germany's technological lead in this field is of immense importance in terms of energy and industrial policy. In this context, the discussion with Mr. Ehler included the exploration of possible solutions to these challenges within the framework of the NZIA.
The current draft of the NZIA, in Articles 19 and 20, mandates Member States to consider qualitative criteria in addition to price when evaluating tenders for solar installations. The inclusion of such criteria would mitigate the unfair competitive disadvantages of European solar products and give fair market value to product attributes such as a low carbon footprint, strict adherence to social and environmental standards in the production process, and technological innovation. In Germany, the introduction of such criteria is being considered as part of the ongoing amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (Solar Package I).
Throughout the discussion, the important role that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can play in driving innovation in the European solar industry in general and in the Brandenburg region in particular was emphasized. We were able to share with Mr. Ehler our efforts to drive innovation in Brandenburg and to engage and strengthen the skilled workforce in the region.
David Ward, Chief Executive Officer at Oxford PV, said:
"We were delighted with Mr. Ehler's visit and the constructive exchange. We agreed on the importance of a strong solar industry in Europe and Germany to enhance energy sovereignty and the success of the energy transition. The Net-Zero Industry Act currently under negotiation at the European level can play a crucial role in achieving this goal. Non-financial criteria, such as the CO2 footprint or the efficiency of a solar installation, help to level the playing field with solar products from China and other parts of the world and to give European products the necessary recognition in the market. I can only encourage Mr. Ehler and other members of the European Parliament to continue along this path.”
About Oxford PV
Oxford PV is a pioneer and technology leader in the field of perovskite solar cells. The company was established in 2010, as a spin-out from the University of Oxford. It focuses exclusively on developing and commercialising a perovskite-based solar technology. A research and development site in Oxford, UK, and an integrated production line near Berlin, Germany enable the accelerated transfer of its technology into industrial-scale perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar cell manufacturing.
Oxford PV has achieved a world-record efficiency of 28.6% for its commercial-sized perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar cell. The company has a clear roadmap to take this technology beyond 30% efficiency.
Solar panels built with Oxford PV’s solar cell technology will generate more power than comparably sized, silicon-only based PV technology – critical for delivering more affordable clean energy, accelerating the adoption rate of solar, and addressing the climate crisis.
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