Industry Giants Keep Germany On Top Of The Global Solar Game


Major investments from global solar giants

are driving the steady growth of Germany’s

photovoltaic industry,

the undisputed leader with 3.8 gigawatts of installations or half of the new installations in the world in 2009.
United States-based First Solar Inc. (Nasdaq:
) leads investments in the sector with its $200-million expansion of its Frankfurt manufacturing plant.

The world’s largest manufacturer of thin-film solar modules will make this plant as the largest of its kind in Europe by cranking up yearly production capacity to 446 megawatts.

First Solar’s expansion plan, the largest foreign investment in Germany so far this year, has also drawn incentives from the government of about $36.2 million.

France-based Avancis G.m.b.H. will build a new plant in the German city of Torgau which will generate 100 MW in yearly production output once it goes online in 2012.

The plant will be Avancis’ second German plant manufacturing thin-film solar panels made using copper-indium-gallium-selenide.

German companies are not far behind with the likes of SolarWorld A.G. investing in a new production plant worth $422.6 million. The plant, to be located in the city of Freiberg, will beef up the solar wafer production capacity of one of the world’s largest fully-integrated producers to 750 MW by the end of the year.

Juwi Solar Inc. will also open a new facility in Brandis, a town near Leipzig, for which it will hire 80 new workers.

Germany’s solar industry benefits from the highest density of research and development institutes while boasting of an integrated network of infrastructure, supplier base and workforce, said Germany Trade & Invest.

The promotion agency also asserted that manufacturers in the country are closer to a vast and growing market, which will give them a significant competitive advantage through brand presence and reputation.