Challenges and opportunities for the solar industry in 2024

The solar industry was characterized by a solar boom in 2023, but also by challenges. With 56 GW installed in the EU in 2023, this is the best solar year in the history of the EU to date. With an installed capacity of 14 GW in 2023, Germany is the largest solar market in Europe. So 2023 was undoubtedly a positive year for the solar market. However, the industry also faced a number of challenges. Joachim Goldbeck, Managing Director of the GOLDBECK SOLAR Group, shares his view of the past year and what the solar industry will be facing in 2024.

Joachim Goldbeck, Managing Director of the GOLDBECK SOLAR Group, on challenges and opportunities for the solar industry in 2024:

“The year 2023 was undoubtedly positive for the solar industry. We are seeing a growing global awareness of the urgent need to reduce CO2 emissions. At the same time, the fall in module prices and the fact that conventional energy sources have remained at a high price level have given the solar industry a significant boost. This has led to the emergence of large markets and the development of considerable capacities along the entire value chain. However, the industry has also faced a number of challenges. Rising interest rates are not only making it more difficult to build infrastructure, but also PV power plants. I also take a critical view of the dominant position of Chinese PV module manufacturers, as this means that the global market does not have a balanced, resilient position.

For 2024, we will continue to keep an eye on the relevant topics already mentioned. We will also focus on the sensible use of PV in combination with arable farming (agri-PV) and the protection of biodiversity in order to use existing areas sustainably. Equally important is the development of technical and regulatory solutions, e.g. in the area of storage and substations, in order to reliably feed the increasing share of solar and wind power into the grids while providing cost-effective and clean electricity.

With regard to the political expectations for this year, I support the ‘solar package’, which will simplify processes and stabilize the expansion. However, the approaches are not sufficient to ensure the doubling of the rate of photovoltaic expansion targeted by the German government over the next three years. This will require further decisions and regulations, such as simplifying and speeding up processes, compensating for increased financing costs and measures to reduce bureaucracy and open up the market.

The political and regulatory challenges at European level also require a clear strategy. On the one hand, we must maintain the low costs for the construction and operation of PV systems and, at the same time, rebuild the European PV industry. The latter must be pursued through public funding without compromising the first, job-intensive goal. There are already good proposals here, such as a resilience bonus for systems equipped with European products. In addition, the market design must be revised in such a way that the further expansion of renewable energies is stimulated in the long term and at the same time a stable, prospective CO2-neutral supply is achieved in an economically favorable way.

It is important for me to emphasize how important investments in clean and decentralized energy are for companies and people. These investments not only enable companies to control their own energy costs, but also reduce their carbon footprint and are the basis for attractive, sustainable and therefore future-proof development.”

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