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There will be no big comeback for the German solar industry – opinion

Despite plans by a major solar energy company from Switzerland to revive solar pv manufacturing in Germany, there is no chance that a large-scale industry will return under current conditions, Kathrin Witsch writes in an opinion piece in Handelsblatt Online. Plans by Swiss mechanical engineering group Meyer Burger to manufacture solar cells and modules in eastern Germany are generating optimism in the sector, but the global industry will continue to be dominated by China and other Asian countries that have managed to turn solar pv into “mass energy,” Witsch writes. “This is why solar energy is already the cheapest electricity source in sunny countries.” Nevertheless, Witsch writes that Meyer Burger’s plans appear solid thanks to “cheap production costs, lower personnel costs due to a high degree of automation, a technological lead and political backing through the EU’s Green Deal.” However, China’s solar sector is developing more efficient cells and companies in the country have always been able to rely on strong political support. But there is hope that both Germany and Europe can re-establish their own PV manufacturing sector. “For this to succeed, however, political support is needed,” she argues.

Germany’s solar power industry last week marked its steepest climb in business climate in 15 years, with the industry crediting the improvement largely to the government’s decision to eliminate the 52-gigawatt funding cap for solar energy. The cap had been put in place in 2012 over worries about rising costs, but solar power prices have since plummeted, not least due to significantly cheaper production in Asia.

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