A representative survey conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the BSW shows that approximately two-thirds of the German population support a temporary promotion of PV production and thus solar factories in Germany. The question posed during the survey was: "In the expansion of solar energy, Germany is heavily dependent on imports from Asia. Should the federal government promote the sale of solar modules from domestic solar factories for a limited period to make them competitive and reduce dependence on Europe?"
In response to the survey findings, the BSW-Solar is calling on the federal government to take immediate action in line with the public's sentiments. Failure to do so could lead to the closure of more solar module factories in Germany this year, thereby missing the opportunity for a renaissance of the solar industry in the country, according to the industry association. This morning, Meyer Burger announced its plan to close the module production in Freiberg due to high losses and dumping of modules from Asia. Only the introduction of a resilience bonus for the European industry could prevent this from happening.
Both the German federal government and the EU Commission had already set a goal months ago to provide stronger support to renewable energy producers to reduce the high dependence on imports, particularly in the production of solar modules and their precursors. While other countries such as the USA and China heavily promote the establishment and scaling of solar gig factories, concrete measures from the German government are still pending. While the demand for photovoltaics is booming, fewer and fewer solar modules are coming from European manufacturing.
Budget Constraints are Not a Reason to Give Up on Promotion
"Current budget constraints should not serve as a justification for further political delays. In August 2023, the traffic light coalition announced a series of sensible measures for bureaucracy reduction with the draft law for the 'solar package I'. These measures would lead to annual savings in budget funds in the tens of millions. The German Bundestag must now quickly implement these measures. The savings achieved can largely offset the temporary additional costs of solar products from European manufacturing, with the help of so-called 'resilience bonuses' in the Renewable Energy Act (EEG)," explains Carsten Körnig, CEO of BSW-Solar.
The association and researchers have already presented a concrete proposal to policymakers last year. This proposal demonstrates how initial funding for the establishment of international competitiveness of domestic solar factories can be realized within the framework of the solar package I. However, the solar industry strongly rejects the introduction of import restrictions or tariffs as they have already proven to be ineffective once before.