Photovoltaic (PV) solar technology producers across Europe are now at serious risk of going under because of soaring energy prices, which is soon to be followed by energy shortages. (Related: Banking kingpin Goldman Sachs says Europe is now in a "deindustrialization' spiral due to the energy crisis.)
Right now, upwards of 35 gigawatts' (GW) worth of PV manufacturing projects across Europe risk being "mothballed," as one report put it. Skyrocketing energy costs are making it difficult, if not impossible, for producers to continue operating.
Rystad Energy said the energy crisis is stifling the continent's efforts to build a solar supply chain within its borders. Russia's invasion of Ukraine and everything that has followed threatens to undo the progress that has been made thus far, not to mention the now-very serious risk of Europe being plunged back into the Dark Ages.
"Building a reliable domestic low-carbon supply chain is essential if the continent is going to stick to its goals, including the REPowerEU plan, but as things stand, that is in serious jeopardy," said Audun Martinsen, Rystad's head of energy service research.
High energy prices, Martinsen went on to say, could not only decimate Europe's now-fledgling "green" energy endeavors but also increase reliance on overseas manufacturing.
That overseas manufacturing, which takes place in China and elsewhere, runs virtually entirely on fossil fuel energy. The transportation used to get those same products to Europe and elsewhere once produced then requires even more fossil fuel energy.
Already in France, a PV module manufacturing plant owned by Maxeon Solar Technologies has shuttered, citing sky-high energy prices that made it prohibitively difficult to continue operating.
Not only were inflated energy prices a factor but so were inflated raw material prices, not to mention ever-rising taxes on imports, said a Maxeon spokesperson about the situation.
"The production price of the Porcelette plant no longer allows us to be competitive on the European market," the spokesperson added in a statement sent to PV Tech, which describes itself as the number-one source for in-depth and up-to-the-minute news about the PV industry.
The now-shuttered Maxeon facility, located in the north of France, was first inaugurated in 2012. According to a company press release, the facility had a 44MWp (megawatts-peak) production line capable of producing 150,000 solar panels annually.
One report on all this asked the following question about the situation:
"The obvious question, if renewables are so cheap, why don't these plants relocate to a large plot of land, disconnect from the grid, and power their manufacturing facilities from their own low-cost renewable energy products?"
The answer, of course, is that renewable energy is a joke in terms of its alleged ability to replace reliable and abundant fossil fuel energy. Relying entirely on renewable energy as Europe tried to do is proving to be a dismal failure – and now the continent is about to pay a serious price for this mistake.
"Higher power prices should make them more competitive if they are really the lowest cost solution," one commenter wrote. "I guess the lack of subsidy is the deciding factor."
"Wind and solar are subsidy mining operations, first and last," added another.
"With kickbacks to the politicians providing the subsidies," interjected someone else.
"That is possibly the most determinantal factor in their continued political existence," added another about the political racket surrounding the renewable energy scam.
As more developments emerge about the energy situation in Europe, we will keep you informed at EnergySupply.news.
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