FAZ: Jobs in Solar Industry Reduced by One Third in 2013

Within one year one third of the jobs in the solar industry were cut in 2013, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports based on yet unpublished data by the Federal Statistical Office.

According to the paper, roughly 4,800 people were employed in the solar module and solar cell manufacturing industry in November 2013, down from 10,200 at the beginning of 2012.

Despite generous support for solar power fed into German grids under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG; regarding the solar feed-in tariffs for 2013, please click here) and a solar boom in Germany in the years 2010 to 2012 with more than 7 GW added each year, the German solar industry is suffering from competition by Chinese solar companies.

In December 2013, the EU imposed a  duty on solar panels from China for a two-year period as an anti-dumping and and anti-subsidy measure. It applies to exports from China, which do not meet the conditions of an undertaking between the EU and China (for more information, please see here). This week the Commission decided “not to impose any extra duties at the current stage” according to media reports.

In 2013 new solar capacity more than halved compared with the previous year, Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft (BSW-Solar), the interest group of the German solar energy industry, informed. The association criticised the plans of the government for a reform of EEG aimed at cutting costs. Regarding the effects of the planned overhaul of the EEG on solar power, please see here (in particular reduction of the annual growth target, cuts of the privilege for self-consumed power, direct marketing obligation and auctioning to determine financial support under the EEG). The government wants the new EEG to enter into effect in August 2014.

The economic research institute Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI) has long been critical of the “explosive costs” of solar support under the EEG “with little to show for either environmental or employment benefits” (for more information, please see here).

Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

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