Friday, September 18, 2009

Solar jobs in Baden-Württemberg

Germany consists of 16 states, and Baden-Württemberg is the one furthest to the southwest. It is also the one where I am living -- in Freiburg, which claims to be the solar capital of Germany.

Actually, there is not much here in terms of industry, most of which is found in Germany's Solar Valley (here's an article from the New York Times from two years ago on that). Nonetheless, as the state's Economics Ministry made clear a few weeks ago, photovoltaics has created a large number of jobs in this state:

  • 1,350 in the manufacture of silicon, cells, modules, and other components (such as inverters)
  • 4,025 jobs at suppliers
  • 3,450 solar contractors
  • 470 wholesalers
  • and 660 researchers

That's around 10,000 new jobs. A total of 3.4 billion euros was made in the sector last year, and that figure is expected to rise to 3.6 billion this year and to 5.5 billion by 2012 -- all of these are figures from the Economics Ministry, which is probably skeptical of the sector overall.

Incredibly, Baden-Württemberg alone had 1,074 megawatts of solar online at the end of 2008, producing around one billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. In comparison, the United States had a total installed PV capacity of only 800 megawatts at the end of 2008, a full 25% less than tiny Baden-Württemberg -- a fact that the US solar sector likes to hide by claiming, "Installed solar power capacity in the United States rose by 17 percent to 8,775 megawatts in 2008" -- but that figure includes all kinds of solar, including pool heating, etc., none of which is included in the figure for Baden-Württemberg.

1 comment:

  1. craig,
    very interesting! Freiburg is home to the International Solar Energy Society, and as an Australian Director, I have visited several times.
    There is an air of "can do - must do" about the place - from the Mayor down.
    Strongly recommended for a visit - pleasant as well as instructive.
    thanks for your blog posts
    Pete Gorton