The world seemed to have left Germany in the shadows. As solar energy boomed in countries such as China, the market in Europe’s largest economy underwent a dramatic collapse.
Around 2010, at the height of Germany’s solar boom, eight to 10 gigawatts of solar energy were being added to electricity grid every year. By 2015, new capacity had slowed to less than 1.5 gigawatts, according to calculations by the German Solar Association. In just three years, the industry had shed more than 100,000 jobs.
But the market, after contracting to a fifth of its previous size, has finally turned a corner and grew by four percent last year. In the first three months of 2017, newly installed solar capacity grew by 65 percent. After a painful consolidation, companies have grown leaner, meaner and are primed for a comeback.
“The hope for a new upswing in the sector is entirely realistic,” Henning Wicht, a solar expert with the market analysis firm IHS, told Handelsblatt. “After a tough consolidation, the only providers that remain are the ones that can compete at the current price level.”