Germany’s Solar Industry “Ends In A Debacle”, Resulting In 21 Billion Euros Of Destroyed Capital

Just call it the Great Solar Energy Bubble! It has popped for good, and what’s left behind is a whopping 21 billion euros in destroyed capital, Germany’s flagship daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) writes today.

One of the arguments used to convince people of the virtues of solar energy was that “the sun doesn’t send a bill … energy from the sun is free!” Even Dave Suzuki once claimed that.

The notion that “solar energy is free” has turned out to be an expensive myth. Quite to the contrary, the bills for solar energy are now coming in, and they’re huge.

Hat-tip Benny Peiser.

Not Long ago investors were exuberantly bullish when it came to investments in solar energy in Germany, so were large companies. Today, however, many have since lost their shirts. And the FAZ now writes large corporations who placed their bets on solar power and solar heat are “pulling out disillusioned“. “The strategy ended in a debacle.”

As an example, the FAZ cites Siemens, who announced on Monday that its solar unit would be liquidated and shut down completely by next spring after the company’s solar strategy “ended in a debacle” after having “poured about a billion euros into the business“.

Looks as if the solar industry in Germany is “dead”

The FAZ writes that Siemens now follows a long list of failed solar companies in Germany (once ballyhooed as a model for the rest of the world), joining Bosch, who announced too that it would withdraw from the solar business, thus putting the jobs of 3000 employees at stake in economically depressed East Germany. Supervisory board chairman Franz Fehrenbach now says it looks as if the solar industry in Germany is “dead”.

Solar manufacturers blame the plummeting prices for panels and modules, as well as competition from China. FAZ reports that “a total of 1.56 billion euros had been completely written off by the company by the end of 2012. On top of that come operating losses totaling 750 million euros”.

The FAZ then tallies the total capital destruction by the German solar industry as a whole, pegging that number at 21 billion euros! The FAZ writes:

Investment stars Solarworld and Q-Cells have destroyed capital to the tune of double-digit billions of euros. In December 2007 the East German Solar Valley cell and module manufacturer Q-Cells was considered to be an aspiring candidiate for the first league stock market. Nothing came of that. Instead the company declared itself insolvent in 2012 and was bought up by a Korean company. Private investors practically lost everything.”

So much for the claim that “solar energy is free”. Once again, the central planners demonstrate again how effective and talented they are when it comes to destroying wealth and capital.


9 responses to “Germany’s Solar Industry “Ends In A Debacle”, Resulting In 21 Billion Euros Of Destroyed Capital”

  1. Ike
    1. DirkH

      Spiegel says a survey found 7% skeptics, less than in the USA.

      This is no surprise. Germans are being forced to spend 8 bn EUR a year to maintain the most expensive public media propaganda machine the world has ever seen; a 100% warmist machine. Private media like Der Spiegel are mostly hard left and perfectly in sync with the public media – except for minor “squirrel” distractions.

      No German I talked to has even heard of Benghazi. Let alone the IRS scandal. It is a completely brainwashed shambles of a nation.

      Americans wouldn’t believe what counts as a public debate in Germany. Nearly indistinguishable viewpoints about irrelevant topics get debated for months.

      And of course, I use the German media exclusively to understand the daily propaganda push.

    2. Juergen Uhlemann

      How would you answer to the question “There is currently a climate change”?
      Yes. Nobody can deny this, but it is not man made or dangerous.
      Therefor it is a stupid question. The correct question should be “There is currently a man made climate change”.

  2. Mindert Eiting

    Today Volkskrant (p. 21) wrote that our planning agency advised not to build thousands of windmills within the next five years, because the price of electricity is too low in the Netherlands. Environmental organisations do not agree.

  3. David Joss of Downunder

    Pierre, there is a way of getting very cheap energy (if not quite free) from the sun.
    If we reverted to using timber as a major structural material we could cut down on the use of energy-intensive steel, aluminium, plastics, concrete etc.
    Trees grow by converting solar energy and CO2 into wood. They do it with little or no maintenance. Sometimes they do it whether you want them to or not. They are a totally renewable resource.
    They continue to store carbon after they have been felled and processed. New ones grow when you cut them down.
    So why do the greenies always want to lock up forests?

    1. Bernd Felsche

      Where will you get the timber? North America’s forests are being wood-chipped for Draw power station in the UK.

      You can’t cut down trees in Australia without “endangering” protected species. And you can’t plant trees in plantations because “environment officers” can’t control controlled burns, wiping out your crop before harvest.

      Much of the structural and other timber sold in Australia comes from S.E. Asia, where there are poor controls on which places and species are harvested. So not only is it likely to be actually environmentally “unfriendly”, it will also require the burning of fossil fuel to get it into Australia; which will only happen after it’s been heavily dosed with poisons or irradiated with gamma radiation to eliminate the possibility of unwelcome immigrants.

      For the same structural purpose, it takes a lot more mass of timber than steel. Timber also requires much more space for the same strength. That has a huge impact on storagre, transport and handling costs. Reliable structural strength of timber has to be “engineered”; classically as “plywood” but also increasingly as laminated beams. They cost a shirtload more than a steel I-beam for the same job and the I-beam will be a lot smaller.

      Maintaining timber has on-going costs; in surface protecting and as a consequence of timber ageing. e.g. cracks in structures, leaks, etc. And despite the chemical dosing prior to being allowed in Australia, softwoods are especially delicious to termites. That includes MDF which is basically resin with a wood filler.

  4. DirkH

    Focus jubilates. Solar Power produced 60% of German electricity during the weekend.

    Energy prices at spot market in France dropped to -4.1 cent/kWh. Spot prices in Germany dropped to -0.3 %. The excess energy was of course exported to countries with pumped hydro who got a reward for taking the excess. Switzerland, maybe Austria. Article doesn’t say.

    Of course, this is useless for the customer who finances the energy overproduction by politically mandated payments to solar panel owners. A fact that Focus does not mention. As I said, German media are all part of a propaganda machine.

    I guess the French price dropped so deeply because they couldn’t ramp down production by the nukes fast enough, and found no demand for their production in Germany. Another problem exacerbating the collapse of France.

    1. DirkH

      “Spot prices in Germany dropped to -0.3 %.”
      “Spot prices in Germany dropped to -0.3 cent/kWh.”

    2. Bernd Felsche

      It was at 60% for an hour on Sunday, just after midday, close to solar noon.

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