Germany’s solar power industry shed a staggering 5,000 jobs over the past two years, reducing the size of the industry by more than half, according to new data released on Tuesday by the Federal Office for Statistics.
A prolonged supply glut induced by cheap Chinese solar imports has resulted in a scourge of bankruptcies at several of Germany’s erstwhile elite solar manufacturers, including Q-Cells, Conergy and Solon.
In 2012, the solar industry employed more than 10,000 workers in Germany. More than half of those jobs have vanished over the past 24 months, according to figures from the Federal Office for Statistics.
The solar jobs data was shared with reporters from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which stated that less than 5,000 Germans are currently employed by the solar power industry – the lowest employed level in nearly half a decade.
Similar data was not available for other sectors of the renewable energy industry, but some signs of distress have surfaced in sectors outside of solar.
Meanwhile, the solar companies that have stayed in business have expanded operations overseas and in niche markets. For example, last week, the Juwi Group, the world’s second largest renewable energy developer, purchased a controlling stake in Qi Power, a renewable energy start-up company based in Brisbane, Australia.
Juwi, which is based in central Germany, has installed nearly three gigawatts of solar and wind power capacity since it was founded in 1996. Last year, Juwi reported about $1.5 billion in revenues.
Qi Power has developed a compelling pipeline of mid-sized solar and wind power projects, ranging in size from a few megawatts (MW) to as much as 20 MWs. The acquisition will expand Juwi’s presence in the rapidly emerging market for off-grid renewable energy projects.
Source: Forbes Business