The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Solar Energy "Ueberalles"

Even if the skies are often cloudy in Germany, one thing is crystal clear. Solar energy is thriving here. While already making a noticeable impact in this central European country, the story being told at Intersolar 2007 in Freiburg this week is, "You ain't seen nothing yet." And it's being told in at least 30 languages.

The mood at Intersolar, the world's largest solar energy conference and expo, is so upbeat and positive about the future, one gets the feeling that the old guard of energy—coal, gas and nukes—will only be able to watch with envy as the solar industry becomes a major player in the global energy market over the next decade.

So, what's driving this hot market? Increasing internationalization and investor confidence appear to be behind the explosive growth of this dynamic industry at 20% per year globally. According to research by the international consultancy group of Ernst & Young, the investment climate in the solar industry has never been more positive and the current rate of growth will continue for at least the next decade.

"The confidence of the financial industry and investors in the innovative and competitive capacity of German solar companies is high and is just as important as a reliable political framework," said BSW-Solar Managing Director Karsten Koernig in his opening remarks during a press briefing at the conference.

Research conducted by BSW-Solar, Germany's solar industry association, also shows that the cost of solar energy will continue to drop at a rate of 5% per year during the next decade. This, along with increasing costs of fossil fuels, will make solar energy cost competitive with conventional energy sources for most consumers by 2017.

Planes, Trains & the Topic of Climate Change
At the center of this renewable energy universe stands the German feed-in-tariff (FIT), which was launched in 1999 and created the platform for growth. Arriving in Germany by plane, and then traveling to Freiburg in the southwest corner of the country by train, it is immediately obvious that this is a country doing something about its energy future.

Wind turbines are visible nearly everywhere and many of the houses and farms alongside the train tracks sport solar hot water or photovoltaic systems. Solar has definitely gone mainstream here.

Another thing that is very clear is the German people take the topic of climate change extremely seriously. One of the first things they often ask, as soon as they find out that you are American, is "What are you [U.S. government] doing about climate change?"

Of course not everyone in Germany is ready to install a solar system and a recent poll showed that, while nearly all Germans agreed that something needs to be done about climate change, very few felt that it was their personal responsibility to do anything. But for those who do want to do something, the solar industry is ready. Tens of thousands of residents have already taken advantage of the generous FIT incentives and benefits offered by the German government.

Other countries too are starting to follow suit. Spain, Italy, France and Greece are touted as the next growth markets in Europe. All have FITs that offer generous incentives for generating solar power and selling to the grid—and German companies are moving aggressively to establish themselves in these foreign markets. In addition, China and the U.S. are also becoming increasingly important markets to the German suppliers of solar energy products and services.

Intersolar 2008 & the Global Energy Market
And it isn't just German companies anymore that come to Intersolar to present their technology and services for solar energy solutions. Of the 640 exhibitors at this year's conference and expo, 236 are from countries other than Germany. China—with 50 companies exhibiting among ten large, crowded exhibit "Hallen"—is the largest foreign contingent. Also well represented are Spain, Austria and France.

All are here at Intersolar to show off the latest offerings of products and services that support the modern life we have become used to in ways that fit with the equally modern sensibility of environmental consciousness.

For someone coming from the U.S, where renewable energy events are just starting to become popular, Intersolar is a huge event. In fact, it is growing so large that next year it will have to move from Freiburg to Munich, where the organizers expect more than 800 exhibitors and as many as 35,000 visitors.

After eight years in Freiburg, many of those who have participated in the growth of this event are feeling a bit nostalgic about the city they will be leaving behind, but are also excited about what it means to move to a much larger venue—and a city better known on the international scene. This, surely, will be a better fit for an event and an industry that truly has gone global.

Oliver Strube is the publisher and co-founder of

Untitled Document


Global Geothermal Alliance Concept One Step Further

Leslie Blodgett, Geothermal Energy Association The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) convened roughly 60 stakeholders in June in Nairobi to finalize the...

Testing Heats Up at Sandia's Solar Tower

Rebecca Brock, Sandia National Lab Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are working to lower the cost of solar energy systems and improve efficie...

US Commercial Solar Sector Wheeling and Dealing: REC Solar Gets “Stellar” Energy Assets

Jennifer Runyon, Chief Editor Coming on the heels of yesterdays announcement that more than 60 percent of corporate investors plan to put capital i...

C&I Solar Sector Could See Huge Growth in Next Few Years

Andrew Burger, Contributor Investments in commercial and industrial (C&I) solar energy projects (50kW-2MW) by U.S. corporations are poised t...


Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Early Bird Registration Deadline for GRC Annual Meeting is This Week

The deadline for early-bird rates for registration for the biggest annual geothermal ev...

Redesigned Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...


The True Cost of Electric Vehicles in Australia

In order to avoid increased congestion, further greenhouse warming and lessen Australia’s reliance on imported ...

The Coming Multi-trillion Dollar Energy Investment Drive

In coming years, a multi-trillion dollar low-emission energy investment drive will get underway. Three catalysts wil...

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a concise statement that grabs attention and communicates value, ideally leading to a next step...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

Activity supported with Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation funding BOONE—The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachia...



Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



There is no current content available.


There is no current content available.


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now