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November 09, 2006

RED HERRING | U.S., Spain Named for Next Solar Breakout

RED HERRING | U.S., Spain Named for Next Solar Breakout As a result of strong government support, solar power has swiftly become as German as beer, bratwurst, and Oktoberfest. Germany’s capacity to produce solar power grew 80 percent in 2005, compared with the 42 percent average of 20 participating nations, according to the International Energy Agency’s Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme—and others say Germany’s growth was actually much higher. The country overtook Japan, the former solar king, last year. “Germany is by far the largest market now,” said Xu Bin, an overseas business department employee for Yingli Solar. But while nobody else may be able to replicate the German cultural phenomena, some in the industry believe that other countries will soon have a chance to overtake Germany as the fastest-growing solar market. Michael Schmela, editor-in-chief for solar trade magazine Photon International, says demand is already dropping in the German market. The government-guaranteed price for solar electricity drops 5 percent each year, yet solar module prices have stayed high, reducing the return that homeowners and business owners can make. Mr. Bin also thinks Germany might fall from the top spot after two years, although he envisions a slow descent. Red Herring surveyed companies at a German solar conference to find out which country is the heir apparent, if Germany’s solar reign subsides. Most picked either Spain or the United States to wear the the lederhosen next. Here’s what they said:

Posted by dymaxion at November 9, 2006 01:06 PM

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