As the European Union is working on scaling up the production of solar panels and reducing the dependence on China, “Serbia would be a great place to accommodate big manufacturing plants,” Chief Executive Officer of SolarPower Europe Walburga Hemetsberger said. Investors would be eager to establish factories if the government provides an appropriate legal framework, in her view.
There is political support in the EU to build up manufacturing again, including solar power equipment, SolarPower Europe’s CEO Walburga Hemetsberger pointed out at the RES Serbia conference.
“We need to have supply chains in Europe. Very important. The supply chains are struggling. We want to have manufacturing again in Europe. At the moment, at least 80% is coming from China. We need to make sure that we have resilient supply chains again in Europe. That’s what we are working very hard on. And make Serbia get a role here,” Hemetsberger stated.
Hybrid power plants ease grid’s pain
As for the political will, which is the driving factor, the Government of Serbia demonstrated it with “many actions,” she stressed. Looking at examples from Europe, the country has an opportunity to collocate solar power plants with other technologies, particularly wind power and storage, Hemetsberger added. Building hybrid power plants “eases the pains that the grid is feeling sometimes with renewables” as it is the path to generating baseload electricity, she added.
Grids play a major role in the deployment of renewables, so if investments in the sector are slow, it is holding back renewable power plant projects, Hemetsberger noted.
Legal framework first
“Serbia would be a great place to accommodate big manufacturing plants. It’s an opportunity not just to scale up renewables but also producing them,” the head of SolarPower Europe underscored. Speaking to Balkan Green Energy News on the sidelines of the event, she explained that decision makers should make it easier for developers to obtain access to land and speed up permitting.
“Everyone can seize the opportunity and provide the best framework, the conditions to attract value creation in their country. To create jobs. As long as Serbia provides such conditions, manufacturers would be happy to come here to scale up,” Hemetsberger said.
One of the ideas currently discussed within the EU is to make it easier to give state aid to industrial projects, she asserted. European products could be assigned bonuses under non-price criteria at special auctions, Hemetsberger suggested.