9 June 2005 – German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder has given his backing to the country’s solar industry stating that the government would provide funding for its development.
Speaking at a meeting with two prominent solar power companies in Thalheim, Germany, Schroeder said: “Public funding of solar energy makes sense not only economically but also in terms of energy policy.”
The German government is to provide grants totalling approximately $34m to create a new solar cell manufacturing facility in Thalheim. Evergreen Solar, the US producer of solar power products, and Q-Cells, the German based independent manufacturer of crystalline silicon solar cells, formed a strategic partnership to develop the $75m solar panel manufacturing facility. The joint venture, trading under the name EverQ, will start construction in August.
“This is a great example of how environmental sensitivity and economic efficiency go together,” Schroeder said. “Solar power has the potential to secure the future energy supply in Germany and worldwide.”
The photovoltaic market was over $7bn in 2004 and has shown growth of 40 per cent per year. Germany is the world’s largest solar power market today, accounting for 40 per cent of worldwide spending in 2004. Markets in Japan and the US rank second and third respectively.