EU provides €2.3 million in aid to former First Solar workers in Germany

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

The German Government has successfully received aid to the tune of €2.3 million from European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to finance programmes to help support workers made redundant at two thin-film production plants closed by First Solar at the end of 2012.

However, for the German authorities to be awarded financial support from the EGF, they had to establish a link between the 959 redundancies and ‘major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation'.

To that end, German authorities claimed that huge overcapacity in the PV industry, brought about by Chinese companies' expansion of manufacturing resulted in Chinese and Taiwanese firms being able to increase revenue faster than German and US companies. As a consequence, the revenue share of Chinese firms increased from 11% to 45%, while that of Germany declined from 64 % to 21%, between 2005 and 2011.

Overcapacity, coupled to a claimed worldwide decline in demand had led to a collapse in prices.

However, the arguments put forward by German authorities are in stark contrast to what executives at First Solar stated as to the reasons behind the closure of the two plants were announced in April, 2012.
At the time, Mike Ahearn, then chairman and interim CEO of First Solar said: “After a thorough analysis, it is clear the European market has deteriorated to the extent that our operations there are no longer economically sustainable and maintaining those operations is not in the best long-term interest of our stakeholders. 

“Decisions like this are not easy, especially given how important the European markets and our associates in Europe have been to the development of our company and the solar industry as a whole. We are committed to treating all affected associates fairly and to building our relationships with European business partners that are aligned with our strategy of pursuing utility-scale solar opportunities in sustainable markets around the world.”

Mark Widmar, First Solar’s CFO had reiterated in a conference call at the time of the closure announcements that changes to the German feed-in tariff, that completely eliminated ground-mounted PV power plants from the EEG, was a contributing factor in closing its two production plants in Frankfurt (Oder).

Therefore the real reason for the plant closures was primarily due to the German Government and its reduction in support for PV, not because of competition from China or Taiwan. Indeed, First Solar did not mention in statements or in the specific conference call, at the time or subsequently, that overcapacity and price declines due to Chinese company actions had resulted in the need to close the plants.

19 August 2021
The utility-scale PV market is poised for exponential growth and yet the industry still has many fundamental opportunities to improve on standards and best practice. Tracker shade loss has been one of those topics that deserve more attention, but has been typically handled by derate factors rather than trying to accurately forecast the loss over the life of the system. Join Nextracker’s subject matter experts, Aron Dobos and Neelesh Umachandran, and Rounak Kharait, director of solar energy assessments at DNV, for a webinar about why shade modeling matters and recommendations on what the solar industry should do about it.
25 August 2021
Energy Next is a new industry exhibition focusing on the latest renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, which will be held for the first time in 2021 in Sydney, Australia alongside the Clean Energy Council’s Australian Clean Energy Summit, the peak gathering of leaders driving Australia's energy transformation. Organised by the same people behind Australia’s largest clean energy event, All-Energy Australia, Energy Next will give visitors two days of access to key suppliers in the industry, free-to-attend professional development and industry workshops, and networking opportunities to better understand clean energy issues and solutions and learn about the latest developments in this transformational, dynamic sector.
25 August 2021
The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste takes place in Fortaleza, Brazil. It addresses leading local and international experts on solar power and renewable energy in the region. The Summit’s mission is to provide in-depth education, enable high-quality networking opportunities, expand the use of PV technologies at regional and national level and strengthen the local PV industry. The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste is organized by Intersolar South America - Latin America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry: Solar Promotion International GmbH, Pforzheim, Freiburg Management and Marketing International GmbH (FMMI) and Aranda Eventos & Congressos Ltda, São Paulo as co-organizer.
25 August 2021
Join us to hear directly from the CTOs and heads-of-research from the top-20 cell/wafer producers to the PV industry today. The event will focus on predicting the key metrics underpinning the next big shift to n-type with answers to the key questions: When will the transition to n-type happen? Which companies will be first to 10 GW capacity and production? Who will be the key equipment suppliers for the new production lines? Which n-type process flow/architecture will emerge as the front-runner? What will polysilicon purity and wafer thickness levels look like for optimized n-type manufacturing? What will the upstream poly/wafer supply-chain look like in 5 years from now?
26 August 2021
In this webinar, JA Solar will present its product portfolio based on the latest technologies to improve your PV projects, ensuring maximum reliability and performance. During the webinar we will receive insight from JA Solar about its solar technology roadmap and how the manufacturer is providing customers with innovative solutions to suit their needs, while we will also analyse how to determine the best product solution for each solar project.
6 September 2021
The 38th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition will be held online from 6 - 10 September 2021, allowing PV experts from all around the globe to participate with just one click! The EU PVSEC is the world's leading forum for PV Research and Development and the biggest Conference on PV Solar Energy worldwide. That is why PV experts from all around the globe are keen on gathering together each year to be part of this specialist’s event, to present and discuss the latest developments in Photovoltaics, to network and to conduct business.

Read Next

August 2, 2021
ReneSola Power has formed a partnership with UK-based Emeren to co-develop ground-mounted solar projects in Italy.
August 2, 2021
Legislation that would increase and extend the US’ residential solar investment tax credit has secured the backing of a host of solar companies and non-profits.
August 2, 2021
Spanish oil and gas major Repsol has increased its renewable energy target from 5.2GW to 6GW and its Low Carbon generation objective from 7.5GW to 8.3 GW by 2025 after posting strong financial results for Q2 which saw the company largely return to pre-pandemic levels
August 2, 2021
First Solar has lowered its earnings and module shipment guidance for 2021 as the company continues to anticipate elevated shipping costs for the remainder of the year.
August 2, 2021
The amount of solar installed in the US in 2020 was 4000% higher than was installed in 2010, with 8,894MW of utility-scale solar projects being added, as corporate demand becomes almost on par with utilities
PV Tech Premium
August 2, 2021
In today’s installment of PV Tech’s ‘European solar under the spotlight’ feature, we assess the potential and key drivers behind Europe’s leading markets in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
August 19, 2021
At 9am (PT) | 6pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
August 25, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK