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Photon Expo: German Photovoltaic Industry Remains Optimistic
Berlin (ots) - Germany's photovoltaic (PV) industry is emerging as a success story despite the economically trying times. Start-ups and established solar companies alike will be showcasing their successes at this year's Photovoltaic Technology Show 2009 Europe in Munich, Germany from March 4 - 6. Germany is an appropriate setting, as the country remains the global leader in PV and has seen an increase in investments across the entire industry.
The PV industry's positive signs for continued growth come primarily as a result of research breakthroughs, increasing demand, continued government investment in the sector, and comprehensive business incentives for investors. Recent estimates put Germany's PV power output at 5.3 Gigawatt-peak (GWp) of cumulated power and 1,500 Megawatt-peak (MWp) of newly installed PV power. The latest progress in this sector has been seen in the field of research. Most notably, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Freiburg, Germany has recently set a new energy retention record. Reporting an efficiency of 41.1 percent, these solar cells open up new possibilities for the entire industry. At this rate, significantly more sunlight can be converted to energy compared to standard solar cells currently on the market.
While this important research hurdle has been cleared, investment in R&D continues to promise further progress. The Fraunhofer Gesellschaft has recently opened the "Center for Organic Materials and Electronic Devices Dresden" (COMEDD) in order to develop economically viable processes for organic semiconductor devices, such as organic solar cells and light-emitting diodes. At the same time, the Fraunhofer ISE inaugurated its new laboratory for silicon material research in Freiburg, the "Silicon Materials Technology and Evaluation Center" (SIMTEC). This institute hopes to improve silicon crystallization and wafer technology as well as crystallizing silicon thin film technology.
2009 and Beyond
In other market segments, a large number of companies are investing in Germany's PV industry. Examples of recent announcements include TÜV Rheinland Group, Alfasolar, Euroglas, Solibro, Wacker, and Ersol (part of Bosch Group). This year alone, a number of developments in the industry will occur: Alfasolar plans to open a highly automated production center for crystallized silicon solar modules this spring. In addition, Euroglas, one of Europe's largest glass manufacturers, is investing in a solar glass manufacturing facility in Haldensleben, Saxony-Anhalt, which is expected to initiate production in May 2009.
Significant announcements have been made that will continue to bolster the PV industry beyond 2009: Wacker has announced plans to construct a new production plant for polysilicon in Nünchritz, Saxony - a total investment of EUR 760 million. Slated to begin operations in 2011, this plant will be supplemented by a further expansion of the Burghausen site as well. Additionally, Ersol is expanding its manufacturing capacity for crystalline solar cells and modules in Arnstadt, Thuringia. By 2012 the site hopes to triple its production capacity and double its workforce through an infusion of EUR 530 million.
Germany Trade & Invest will be in attendance to help PV companies interested in entering or expanding in the German market. The organization will have industry experts present at this year's Photovoltaic Technology Show in Munich in Hall C2 B 28 in order to showcase the opportunities available to potential investors.
Germany Trade and Invest is the foreign trade and inward investment promotion agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. The organization advises and supports foreign companies seeking to expand into the German market and assists companies established in Germany looking to enter foreign markets. All inquiries are treated confidentially.