23 Oct 2023, 13:29
Julian Wettengel

Social Democrats and Greens in parliament aim to introduce rules to strengthen domestic solar industry

Tagesspiegel Background

The parliamentary groups of the ruling Social Democrats (SPD) and Green Party consider supporting the rebuilding of Germany’s domestic solar industry through measures such as clauses that ensure certain products are manufactured in a sustainable way, which could make imports from countries like China more difficult, reports Tagesspiegel Background. "Module production in Germany is slowly starting again and we want to strengthen it," said Timon Gremmels of the SPD as the Bundestag entered a first debate of the legislation under the government’s proposed ‘solar power package.’ "We want solar products to be increasingly manufactured here in order to make us independent of Asian markets" and tackle U.S. efforts to lure companies with the help of subsidies under the Inflation Reduction Act, said Gremmels. However, MPs from the pro-business FDP caution against instruments like sustainability requirements. Konrad Stockmeier told Tagesspiegel that the associated verification requirements for manufacturers, especially for smaller companies, would entail additional, disproportionate bureaucratic burdens. The FDP would rather support introducing better tax incentives and logistical connections for companies, said Stockmeier. 

The solar industry in Germany has been mired in difficulty since the early success of Germany's Renewable Energy Act in the year 2000. German companies quickly ascended to global leadership in solar power technology before a collapse after 2012 forced many manufacturers to drop out of business. The current government aims to massively increase solar power capacity across the country and is introducing a raft of legislation to speed up permitting procedures, make more land available, and increase the capacity of solar tenders.

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