Germany plans new funding to revive solar sector
Tagesspiegel Background / Handelsblatt / pv magazine
Germany’s economy minister Robert Habeck announced there will be new government funding to rebuild the country’s solar industry, Tagesspiegel Background reports. The economy ministry (BMWK), which is expected to present the new funding instrument soon, is also preparing a tender in line with a new EU subsidy framework in the near future, Habeck said. Germany and Europe need their own substantial production capacities for key transformational technologies such as solar panels, an economy ministry spokeswoman added. The issue was not just a question of economic reason and necessity, but also one of security policy, the spokeswoman stressed.
Through its Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework (TCTF), the European Commission has given member states the opportunity to promote the production of additional climate technologies, such as photovoltaics. As a first step, the ministry will initiate an expression of interest procedure to find out which companies want to build up or expand production capacities. "[T]he solar industry is key and we have a great interest in having it in our country," the spokeswoman said, while noting that the federal government was still in the midst of budget negotiations. The move is seen as a reaction to the US’ Inflation Reduction Act, which has led to some European companies relocating operations to the North America due to attractive incentives. Swiss solar manufacturer Meyer Burger, which is aiming to expand production capacities in Germany from its current 1 gigawatt (GW) to 3.4 GW by the end of 2024 and possibly to 15 GW by 2027, has warned that it could also relocate some of its operations to the US.
Chinese solar giant Longi told business daily Handelsblatt it was planning to build its first manufacturing facility in Germany, further signalling the return of the solar sector to Europe. A final decision is expected in six months. The rollout of solar power has gathered speed in Germany in recent months, with March, April and May all surpassing 1 GW of additional capacity, and making the government target of adding 9 GW this year more than achievable, pv magazine reports.