Discussion: The Future of the German Solar Industry

The smarter E Podcast Episode 179 | June 13, 2024 | Language: German

The German solar industry is under pressure. Two years ago, they actually wanted to rebuild it. Because after Putin turned off the gas tap, we didn't want to become dependent on modules from China for solar energy. However, the largest German manufacturer, MeyerBurger, has now closed its module factory in Freiberg, Saxony, and is setting up production in the USA. Others are likely to follow.

The FDP of all parties, which called renewable energies "freedom energies" during the election campaign, was against the so-called resilience bonus, which was intended to promote the German solar industry. Without support, however, it will be very difficult for the industry to relocate.
But do we even need them to be independent and free? Or is a rapid expansion of solar energy with cheap modules from China not the better route to freedom?

We talk about this with Andreas Bett, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, and Karl-Heinz Remmers, solar entrepreneur and founder of photovoltaik and pv magazine.


01:30 Andreas Bett and Karl-Heinz Remmers introduce themselves
04:47 Do we need a German solar industry?
23:12 Why are tariffs not a solution for Europe?
31:00 Can the Inflation Reduction Act work in the USA?
40:00 Why did the resilience bonus not materialise after all and what alternative funding instruments are there?
59:00 Fraunhofer ISE has analysed the resilience bonus and its effects. What was the result?
1:02:44 Do we need a subsidy for the establishment of the solar industry or a purchase subsidy for its products?
1:05:46 Do we still need an EEG subsidy or should the money rather be channelled into the establishment of the solar industry in Germany?
1:12:00 Dirk Neubauer, district administrator in Central Saxony, wants to build solar plants in his district and market the electricity directly on site via a company. Is this a model for municipal utilities and other districts?

About The smarter E Podcast

The smarter E podcast is all about the current trends and developments in a renewable, decentralized and digital energy industry. Our moderators Tobias Bücklein and Zackes Brustik welcome and interview personalities who shape our industry and drive developments forward. A new episode is published every Thursday.

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About Andreas Bett

Prof. Dr. Andreas W. Bett, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE

Prof. Dr. Andreas W. Bett is director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany and operates the chair »Solar Energy – Materials and Technologies» in the Faculty of Mathe-matics and Physics, University of Freiburg. He received the Dipl. degree in physics and the state exami-nation in physics and mathematics from the University of Freiburg, Germany in 1988 and 1989, respec-tively and the PhD degree in physics from the University of Konstanz, Germany in 1992. He joined the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, ISE in 1987. In 1993 he became the head of the group »III-V – epitaxy and solar cells«. From 2007 until 2016 he was division director »Materials – Solar Cells and Technology« and from 2009 until 2016 he was deputy director of the institute. In 2017 he was ap-pointed director of the institute.

About Karl-Heinz Remmers

Karl-Heinz Remmers, solar entrepreneur and founder of photovoltaik and pv magazine

Renewable energies have characterised Karl-Heinz Remmers' life for over 32 years – from his studies in energy technology at the TU Berlin to his work as an author of specialist books and his commitment as an entrepreneur.

Among other things, Karl-Heinz Remmers founded the company Solarpraxis, published the trade journals photovoltaik and pv magazine and launched the industry meeting Forum Solar Plus, then Forum Solarpraxis. Today, Remmers builds solar systems and sells the electricity generated.


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