China Price War Draining Jobs in Germany’s Solar Valley: Energy

By Stefan Nicola, Bloomberg:

When Thomas Behling returned to his home state of Saxony-Anhalt in 2006, he was drawn by a job in the solar industry and the chance to participate in Germany’s renewable energy boom. He was fired in July.

Behling’s employer, Sovello GmbH, produced its last solar panel on Aug. 26, sending 1,000 workers home after attempts to find an investor to save the seven-year-old company failed. Next door, Q-Cells SE (QCE), once the world’s largest solar-cell maker, is being acquired by Hanwha Group of South Korea as soaring debt brought it to the brink of bankruptcy. At least 12 German solar companies filed for protection from creditors in the past year.

Their demise, fueled by price competition from China and a cut in German subsidies from April, has hobbled Saxony-Anhalt’s effort to turn a 350-hectare (1.4 square miles) business park near the town of Bitterfeld-Wolfen into Europe’s solar-power nucleus. Even as Chancellor Angela Merkel pins Germany’s exit from nuclear energy on power derived from the sun and wind, a global glut of solar panels is killing the fledgling firms… Read more

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