From “Solar Valley To Death Valley”… How Germany’s Solar Industry Imploded – German Autos Next To Go?

Germany’s once highly praised solar equipment production industry has disintegrated, and now politicians are poised to make the same happen to its automobile industry.

German leaders risk running German industry into the ground, warns German publicist Dirk Maxeiner. Photo credit:

Promised solar paradise for former communist East Germany

With its center in former communist East Germany, mainly located between Dessau and Leipzig, the region was dubbed in the early 2000s as “Solar Valley” and promised economic prosperity driven by high-tech jobs to a region that had long suffered from economic malaise.

In Solar Valley’s heyday, hardly a week passed without the media reporting on groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings with top politicians in attendance patting themselves on the back.

Hundreds of millions in subsidies

According to Maxeiner, the government poured hundreds of millions of taxpayer euros to set it all up: “142 million euros in Brandenburg, 120 million in Saxony Anhalt and 143 million euros in Thuringia poured in.”

It was to be Germany’s bright new high-tech future and show the world how to go green. That was the vision.

From Solar Valley to Death Valley

But then came clash with harsh reality. Within just a matter of a few years low-cost solar cell imports from China flooded the markets, causing prices to plummet. Within just months Solar Valley was reduced to a heap of ruins.

Moreover, the exorbitantly high green energy feed-in tariffs rapidly caused electricity rates from consumers to skyrocket. The government was forced to act quickly to cut the feed-in rates, which made solar systems less attractive. The market found itself flooded by solar panels and German manufacturers collapsed. Maxeiner wrote (with sarcasm):

Through the path of Energeiewende subsidies, German taxpayers created jobs not in Bitterfeld as planned, but in such beautiful cities like Guangzhou, Hangzhou or Xi’an.”

None has collapsed as fast””

And according to the Hans Boeckler Foundation site here: “No other industry grew so rapidly in the last decades as the production of solar cells has – and none has collapsed as fast.” It all took just 15 years.

The Hans Böckler Foundation describes how small start-ups transformed into tech market stars and then became insolvent one after the other beginning in 2011. Names like Solar Millennium, Q-Cells, Centrotherm, Conergy all collapsed as quickly as they sprang up.

Some 30,000 jobs were lost in a single year alone and private capital worth double-digit billions “was destroyed”.

According to the Hans Böckler Foundation, “Financial market experts are only disputing if it involves 30 or 50 billion euros.”

German leaders refusing to learn

Today politicians and Germany’s green media are mysteriously absent in “Solar Valley” and the heap of ruin that was left behind. Yet, they continue to insist that green energies are the way to go and refuse to learn the lessons of the solar energy subsidy debacle.

As Maxeiner writes, green politicians such as socialist Stephan Weil of Lower Saxony have learned nothing. Today leaders like Weil are calling for a Verkehrswende (transportation transition) and a transformation of the automobile industry!

According to Maxeiner, leading policymakers seem to believe that the problem can be solved by continuing down the same wrong path of subsidies, but at a faster speed.

Germany’s transformation obsession

Maxiener asks: “What are we supposed to understand from the transformation of the automobile industry? Bicycles can be made by the Chinese even more cheaply.”

The German publicist then describes how leaders in the country are caught up in a “transformation craze” where everything needs to be fundamentally transformed, no matter whether it makes any sense or not.

According to Maxeiner, politicians like Weil are now demanding that the car industry “stop building cars that people want, and only then will everything be good.”

Maxeiner summarizes: Now that Germany has long run the solar industry into a wall, it appears politicians are intent on doing the very same with the country’s auto industry. But to accomplish that, it will be necessary to run its coal industry into a wall so that power for electric cars will be able to run on clean wind energy.

And where will these electric cars come from?

40 responses to “From “Solar Valley To Death Valley”… How Germany’s Solar Industry Imploded – German Autos Next To Go?”

  1. John F. Hultquist

    Don’t you know that your are a shooting star?

    Song lyrics by Bad Company

  2. Steve

    Well there you have it. People out there trying to do things to make things better for you. You know who they are. They are called bureaucrats.

    1. Yonason

      They get paid quite handsomely for it too. And the harder they try, the more they get paid, …and the worse off we usually are for it.

  3. Philip

    Don’t worry the good ole USA will be glad to sell them cars steel Nat Gas and all the things they use to produce, even German cars if they want. I have a friend that works for VW. You see our President isn’t a Liberal Ecowacko. And he believes economic growth. I got a tax cut a nice Raise and more overtime than I want, it’s doing wonderful things to my bank acc. So if Europe and Australia want to cut their own throats America will be only to happy to pick up the Slack!

    1. SebastianH

      Are you one of those that believe your president is trying to help you and not his rich buddies? 😉

      1. spike55

        That one statement shows seb’s complete and utter lack of comprehension about economic systems.

        But as he has only ever studied deep Socialist Marxism, that is to be expect.

      2. MrZ

        Actually on this one I agree with Seb
        This is a real and much bigger issue than climate.

        1. Harold

          Especially since climate is not an issue….

      3. Philip

        You really are not functionally literate! Yes when my boss is making more money so do I and I’m good with that, there were a few years under Obama when I had to work alot of 32 hour weeks and wondered if my job would be there. I work for a good Company they treat me decent and have gone out of their way to keep me busy when they didn’t have to, so they have my loyalty.

        1. MrZ

          Philip 2
          I want to clarify my point and agreement with Seb was about the gouvernment debt.
          The only possible way out is to grow the economy and hence create REAL jobs. And yes the rich are rich because they do create growth and jobs. No problem with that.

          What I fear though is that the debt will cause a global crash and the risk of that happening is much larger than any climate risk.

          Government should cut its spending by downsizing so that the growth does not get wasted as is the case now

          Hope it makes sense.

          1. Philip

            That makes sense and I agree that debt and no discipline on spending is the biggest risk to the economy.

  4. Bitter&twisted

    And look what has happened to new solar farms in the UK, now that subsidies have been removed.
    Story at “Notalotofpeopleknowthat”
    Shows just how “competitive” they are.

    1. SebastianH

      Oh look what happens to new nuclear power plants in the UK … costing a furtune and not competitive at all (e.g. needs more subsidies than any solar power plant imaginable).

      1. spike55

        Yep, they should have stuck with atmospheric plant-food enhancing fossil fuels.

        Bad political decisions by leftist fools.

        Plenty of gas they could use if they wanted to.

        Blame the greenie agenda for all the crap currently happening to once solid electricity supply systems in developed countries.

        1. Yonason

          I guess France didn’t get the memo.

          But not to worry. France under Macron is waking up, and plans to close many nuke facilities by 2025.

          After all, why should Germany have all the fun.

          And maybe even add a little manslaughter to the mix, just to make it interesting.

          …because greenies are so compassionate, dontchaknow.

      2. Philip

        The way to fix that is to have some one other than the Government building and running it.

  5. SebastianH

    Maxeiner summarizes: Now that Germany has long run the solar industry into a wall, it appears politicians are intent on doing the very same with the country’s auto industry. But to accomplish that, it will be necessary to run its coal industry into a wall so that power for electric cars will be able to run on clean wind energy.

    This guy is delusional. Where do you always find these authors? Next up: an article translated from “Tichys Einblick”? 😉

    1. spike55

      Only DELUSIONAL person around here is YOU, seb

      You can’t even provide any evidence for CO2 warming, yet you expect people to take you seriously.

      You are a JOKE.

      Its like Grimm’s fairy-tales are your source of knowledge.

      Everything you think you know is based on sheer FANTASY.

      NONE of your comments are based on RATIONAL UNDERSTANDING.

      Every word of what you quoted is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT, you are just in DEEP DENIAL of the facts.

      Do I need to ask those two “really hard for seb” questions yet again, so you can continue your headless chook routine?

    2. SebastianH

      P.S.: Any chance to hear about the record sommer in most of the NH? How it’s not climate change that we are seeing the hottest La Nina summer on record? And how a weak Sun is totally responsible for this … or natural variability perhaps? 😉

      1. spike55

        No where near as warm as most of the first 800+ years of the Holocene seb,

        Only warming because its coming out of the COLDEST period in 10,000 years

        And no it has NOT been a record summer in MOST of the NH

        Some patches have been colder than “average”

        Seems you are IGNORANT of the effects of the deviations within the jet stream, and don’t comprehend basic weather patterns

        No surprise there.

        And as you well know, there is ZERO evidence that the slight but highly beneficial warming is caused by anything done by man.

        You still can’t even answer two simple questions.

        That is how DEVOID OF EVIDENCE you are.

        Q1. In what way has the climate changed in the last 40 years, that can be scientifically attributable to human CO2 ?

        Q2. Do you have ANY EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE at all that humans have changed the global climate in ANYWAY WHATSOEVER?

        1. spike55

          “most of the first 800+ years of the Holocene”

          That should say 8000+ years of the Holocene..

          .. basically all of which were WARMER than now.

      2. spike55

        UAH NH anomaly up by 0.04ºC since last month, seb.

        SCARY !!

        Try not to go into a deep manic PANIC, you poor little SJW.

      3. spike55

        Why is it that you don’t mention the much colder summer in Siberia, Africa, South America and particularly in Greenland, seb??

        You seem to love showing your self-centred ignorance.

        Remember, the shading is anomalies from the rise out of the coldest period since the LIA. ie the late 1970s.

        It would be basically all blue if it was anomalies from the period around the 1940s.

      4. MrZ

        Record hot in NH!???
        It’s up 0.04C since June that in turn was down 0.03C from May

        1. spike55

          Little petal is talking about the tiny region HE actually lives in. After all that is all HE cares about.

          Jet stream wobble has brought up some warmer air from the south.

          Its called WEATHER.

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  11. Brian G Valentine

    Angela Merkel, a PhD of Chemical Physics, ought to HAVE KNOWN what the outcome of senseless energy policies would be

    1. Yonason

      Hmmm, interesting.

      You’d think she would be smarter than she acts, but given her embrace of immigrants who could care less about German culture, and of energy policies that nothing short of fanatically lunatic, she doesn’t seem the brightest bulb in the pack. Well, not the most sensible one, anyway. After all, intelligence and common sense are often not found together.

      Oh, and a physicist being against nuclear energy, given how safe they are, makes no sense whatever.

      1. Brian G Valentine

        In the USA in the 1950’s, the “leftist” type sympathising with the USSR such as the Beatnik were supportive of the Atomic Age,

        Then came the left of left, generally misanthropic, nihilistic, and supportive of what isn’t clear.

        Many politicians fell sway to them and continue to do so, for whatever reasons cannot be fathomed.

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