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Germany’s solar panel industry, once a leader, is getting squeezed

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The New York Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Germany, once a leading producer of solar panels, is struggling to compete against Chinese manufacturers who offer lower prices
• The situation has intensified as Europe seeks to increase its use of solar energy to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets, leading to heightened demand for solar panels

🔭 The context: A decade ago, Germany led the world in solar panel production, concentrated in former East Germany 
• Now, with more than 97% of solar panels in Europe being imported, primarily from China, German manufacturers are fighting for survival
• They advocate for government incentives to support domestic production, arguing that European-made panels are more environmentally friendly and reliable due to higher standards and shorter supply chains

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The shift towards solar energy is crucial for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change 
• However, the dominance of cheaper, imported solar panels challenges the viability of local, environmentally sustainable production methods, raising concerns about the global supply chain's carbon footprint and reliance on overseas manufacturing

⏭️ What's next: The German solar industry's future hinges on governmental support, such as the proposed "resilience bonus" for domestically produced solar power 
• Meanwhile, companies like Meyer Burger are considering relocating production to the U.S. to benefit from protectionist measures there
• The debate continues over the best approach to fostering a competitive domestic solar industry without sacrificing innovation or accessibility to solar technology

💬 One quote: "Due to a lack of European protection against unfair competition from China, nearly four years of hard work by great employees in Europe is at risk," (board of Sentis Capital Cell 3 PC, the largest shareholder in Meyer Burger)

📈 One stat: Last year, Germany installed enough solar panels to generate just 9 gigawatts of power, while the ambition is to generate an additional 80 gigawatts annually to meet climate goals

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