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|Germany’s solar and wind industries are pressing forward despite challenges.|
|(c) mediaserver.hamburg.de/photoacademy GmbH|
Germany’s shift to renewable energy stands poised to accelerate into high gear. The country’s four major grid operators have provided the German government with a new plan for a major grid expansion. The government is reviewing the plan and has recently intensified high-level meetings among national and state-level players.
Esther Frey, wind energy expert at Germany Trade & Invest in Berlin, commented, “Germany has one of the most extensive wind energy industries in the world. Efforts to remove obstacles underscore the political and public support for renewable energy in Germany. This will allow the expansion of wind energy to continue to grow, leading to excellent business opportunities.”
Over 20 percent of all electricity in Germany comes from renewable energy. Of this, wind makes up the largest share. With Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear energy completely, wind energy — especially from offshore wind farms — is set to play an increasingly important role.
Frey noted that, “despite ongoing issues with offshore grid connections, it is an excellent time to invest in Germany. Problems are being addressed and the long-term strategy is taking shape. At the same time, companies are embarking into uncharted territory with new innovations.”
Illustrating the growth in wind energy initiatives, German energy giant RWE recently christened a new ship used to install offshore wind turbines in deep water.
Solar power accounted for 10 percent of Germany’s total electricity production in May of this year, an increase of 40 percent from the previous year, as reported by the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry. The significant jump stemmed from heightened capacity complemented by sunny days. This surge in green power generation reveals that the nation is well on its way to expanding the proportion of renewables in the energy mix.
Tobias Homann, photovoltaic industry expert from Germany Trade & Invest, noted, “Germany’s decision to replace nuclear energy with other sources is proving to not only be possible, but is creating many valuable prospects for the renewables sector. The continued strength of the solar market has sparked greater investment from abroad.”
One example of this foreign investment comes from bSolar, an Israel-based solar photovoltaic cell company. With the support of GTAI, bSolar established a plant in Heilbronn that produces high-efficiency bifacial cells. Its decision to invest in Germany reflects the country’s longstanding status as the world’s key photovoltaic market. The rooftop cells have the ability to produce more electricity at lower costs.
“Germany is one of the largest producers of PV technology as well as the biggest consumer of per capita solar energy worldwide,” explained Dr. Yossi Kofman, Co-founder and CEO of bSolar. “Strong demand partnered with a highly skilled workforce, intensive R&D and a political framework supportive of renewables make Germany an obvious point of investment,” Kofman concluded.
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