Germany’s 100,000 Strong Solar PV Workforce

Germany’s solar photovoltaic (PV) industry now employs more workers than the steel production sector in the USA says Germany Trade and Invest.

According to the foreign trade and inward investment agency of the Federal Republic of Germany; the German solar PV industry now provides 100,000 jobs.

Approximately 75 percent of European solar panels are manufactured in the nation, along with other components such as as solar inverters. Nearly half of all solar inverters produced in the world are made in Germany – home to well known brands such as SMA and Fronius.

Germany Trade and Invests says record-breaking domestic demand has been the main driver of the industry, with 7.4 GWp of PV capacity installed last year.

According to Thomas Grigoleit, renewable energies expert at the company, “Germany continues to confirm its leadership role in renewable energies as the solar photovoltaic market will soon enter the grid parity era. Political support for solar power is unwavering and industry players are already preparing for innovative new business models. Now is an excellent time to invest in Germany.”

A Wikipedia entry states the German solar PV industry installed nearly a quarter of a million individual solar power systems last year and solar panel generated electricity contributed 12 TWh (billion kilowatt-hours) of electricity in 2010.

That a nation with a fraction of the solar resources of Australia could emerge as such a powerful force in renewable energy has been mostly due to its pioneering efforts in feed in tariff incentives. The country’s PV industry has also recently received an added boost after the German government announced it would abandon nuclear power in the wake of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The German government had previously set a target of 66 GW of installed solar PV capacity by 2030, a target that may be revised upwards given the nation is turning its back on nuclear energy.