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A glimmer of hope for Germany’s solar industry


Nilima Choudhury
Nilima Choudhury
Nilima Choudhury joined us in October 2011 from The Independent as our web and publications editor. She has an honours degree in English Language and French studies from the University of Birmingham. Science-fiction novels, punk-thrash gigs and movies are amongst some of the things that keep her entertained outside of the solar energy world.

It was a victory of sorts on this beautiful spring day for Germany’s solar industry. The protest at Berlin’s Brandenburger Tor was immense: orange balloons released into the light breeze, flags from a number of Germany’s solar companies were vehemently waved and whistles were heartily blown in protest as well as in agreement. The most imaginative of the protesters were a group carrying a coffin through the crowds. Symbolic, simple and effective.

Around 2pm, a restlessness passed through the crowd, seemingly bored of the same old drivel from trade union representatives. They were looking for action not to be told how they were feeling. However, this was quickly replaced by deafening boos to the chairman of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, Jürgen Trittin’s address to the crowd.

But nothing, and I mean nothing, could drown out the cheers that erupted at the announcement that there could be a chance the cuts could be put back to April, rather than later this week, giving companies a little more time to make preparations to lower levels of solar subsidies.

On a critical note, from my vantage point all I could see were thousands of people from solar companies, large and small, out in force. However, very few people representing the general public had attended. A five minute walk away from the Tor, people could be put into two camps: those that did not know the demonstration was even happening and those that cared but did not see any point in adding their voice to this cause.

Today’s protest resulted in a small victory – nothing in writing just yet, certainly – but a victory nonetheless. The atmosphere at the Brandenburger today was electric and hopeful. Let's keep everything crossed that this effort was not in vain.


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