The 11th Forum Solarpraxis presents current developments in solar energy
Unlimited growth or consolidation for the photovoltaic industry?
The 11th Forum Solarpraxis ended on Friday in Berlin. For two days, experts from the industry, policy setters, financial experts and representatives of the trade associations held intensive discussions about the current situation and future of the solar industry. A major focus concerned the growth prospects for the German photovoltaic market in the coming year.
In an analysts’ panel, market analysts and bankers gave forecasts for the German photovoltaic industry in the context of international competition. The panelists were in agreement over their assessment: In comparison to other countries, the German market offers a very stable environment, which maintains the attractiveness of Germany for investments. Project lead times and approval procedures can be readily estimated and no one is in fear of retrospective funding cuts. The returns of 8 to 10 percent remain attractive to investors.
However, regarding the growth forecasts for Germany, the figures were divergent. The most optimistic estimates were presented by Stefan de Haan of iSuppli, who estimated 9 gigawatts in 2011. Dirk Morbitzer of Renewable Analytics forecast significantly less, at 4.5 gigawatts. All other experts saw the German market potential at around 6 gigawatts. Whichever is the case, the figures should bring cheer to the German photovoltaic industry. However, there was also agreement that a rather weak first half year can be expected in 2011.
What impact the market forecasts will have on the solar industry in Germany were illustrated by Christof Stein of the KfW Banking group in his presentation "Companies in crisis – Avoiding crisis, dealing with crisis". He urged companies to recognize their weak areas in good time and to take action accordingly. A consolidation of the solar industry is to be expected, as happened earlier in the telecommunications industry, said Stein.
In the discussion "The German PV market – After flying high, now facing a total crash? Quo vadis the Renewables Bill?“, Hans-Josef Fell from the Green Party, appealed to representatives from the photovoltaic industry to fight even more intensively for transformation of the energy market and to publicize better the positive aspects of solar power. In addition, during the discussions about the Renewable Energy Law Amendments in 2012, drastic cuts in feed-in remuneration should be hindered, just as the introduction of a cap on the market. Fell cited the “Photovoltaic Roadmap” by the Federal Solar Industry Association as a first step towards a dialogue with policy makers.
Many participants were positive about the Forum and its role within the industry:
- "The timing of the conference is perfect” said George Yang, Deputy Director Sales & Marketing from Changzhou Eging Photovoltaic. “The speakers are professional, the program is very interesting, and we made many promising contacts with the high-level attendees."
- "The Forum Solarpraxis has, as always, been very important for us in answering questions about the market. This information exchange again reached a high level this year" concluded Ulrich Trattmann, CEO of Mastervolt GmbH.
- Gonzalo de la Viña, CEO of REC Solar Germany GmbH, said: "The Forum Solarpraxis in Berlin is an important platform for discussions and presentations for our industry and is a regular fixture in our annual planning as a supplement to Intersolar in early summer. Here we can exchange information with industry partners and policy makers and explore new approaches for the solar industry. Many interesting discussions have once again demonstrated that REC is perceived as a reliable and competent manufacturer."
Karl-Heinz Remmers, CEO and founder of Solarpraxis, spoke at the conclusion of the Forum about the rapid development in a photovoltaic industry, where even annual forecasts are seen as "long term". However, in discussions about solar energy, the solar thermal sector, which also plays an important role in energy supply despite its slower development cycle, must not be forgotten. He emphasized that the aim of the Forum Solarpraxis remains the advancement of all forms of solar energy. "We are keen to see how the whole sector has developed by the time of the 12th Forum Solarpraxis at the end of next year" said Remmers.
The 11th Solarpraxis Forum was sold out with more than 700 participants.
The 12th Solarpraxis Forum will be held on 17 and 18 November 2011 in Berlin.
Miriam Hegner, Phone: +49 (0)30 / 72 62 96-304, EMail: presse(at)solarpraxis.de