PR Henrike Hahn, MEP (The Greens/EFA): Stumbling solar industry - Brussels delivers, but in Berlin the FDP puts the brakes on

On the announced closure of solar module manufacturer Solarwatt among others in Germany and the broader situation of the solar industry in Europe, Member of the European Parliament Henrike Hahn (The Greens/EFA), member of the Industry Committee (ITRE), industrial policy spokesperson and deputy head of the German Greens in the European Parliament, comments:

"After Meyer Burger, Solarwatt is the second prominent manufacturer to end production in Germany while Heckert Solar, a third solar manufacturer, is also facing difficulties.

It is unacceptable to simply stand by and watch the collapse of the German solar industry without interfering - a sector in which the market leading position was clear a few years ago.

In the recent German solar package, the “resilience bonus” to reduce the price difference to Chinese modules failed because of the minor liberal government coalition partner FDP's resistance. This is short-sighted in terms of energy and security policy.

It remains to be seen whether solar companies will be able to persist in its existence till the implementation of the EU Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA), which has recently been passed. It will take at least 12 months till its implementation - and every day counts for location and production decisions of businesses in Europe.

The Net Zero Industry Act speeds up authorisation procedures and provides resilience criteria in public procurement - this can help to create and maintain a market for European modules in the medium term.

Europe has provided constructive support for the solar industry. However, the EU can not catch and turn around wrong and insufficient policy choices by the FDP and its finance minister in Berlin given the dramatic potential decline of the solar industry.

Europe's energy supply must be independent of geostrategically questionable countries such as China or Russia - in key sectors such as solar energy, this applies just as much as in the case of dependence on Russian gas. Today, energy and industrial policy is also very concrete security policy.

We need solar energy for our energy transition in Europe. Solar energy is central to achieving our climate targets by 2050 at the latest, and for enabling long-term competitive companies that want to rely on the advantages of resilient and renewable energy in Europe.

Companies such as the chip manufacturer Intel or the battery producer Northvolt are already considering the resilient supply of renewable energy in their international location decisions, which should not be underestimated for Europe as relevant location factor for businesses.“


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