Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Europe's Solar Manifesto reports of the release by the European Photovoltaic Technology Platform of an authoritative report dubbed the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) , which will serve as a roadmap for short-, medium- and long-term research priorities for Europe in order to consolidate its global leadership position in the solar industry. The overarching goal is to make photovoltaic solar electricity competitive with conventional electricity in Southern Europe by 2015 and in most of Europe by 2020.

The SRA states in no uncertain terms that it is afraid of China's emerging success in the PV industry and the threat it poses to Europe's solar industry. Specifically, it describes China as the second country (after Japan) with an industrial policy specifically focused in the solar industry, with a goal of covering the solar value chain from silicon feedstock to complete systems. Hence, the SRA outlines the R&D priorities across the full spectrum of PV technologies, including crystalline-based, thin-film and concentrated solar technologies, as well as balance-of-system components.

The SRA also discusses non-technological issues such as standards, quality assurance and government R&D policy, although not to the same degree of detail and thoughtfulness as Solartech's white paper for turning the Silicon Valley into Solar Valley.

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