From the beginning, Germany’s renowned Solar Valley became inaccurately designated as the origin of the country’s photovoltaic industry. In 1999, the founders of Q CELLS adopted the name Solar Valley to serve the same purpose as Silicon Valley in California. Silicon Valley continues to stand out as the world’s digital innovation epicenter, earning the title from the numerous digital solution companies that develop innovative products and services to better humankind’s lives. After the 1990’s reunification, Germany hoped for Solar Valley to become a tech-hub for photovoltaic prowess by harnessing the sun’s energy in sectors that drive the country’s economic growth. For several years, solar continued to outshine high expectations.
By the dawn of the millennium, Germany already attained an outstanding reputation as the powerhouse in photovoltaic technologies’ development and production. However, after a decade, lower-cost production locations in China and Southeast Asia sprung up to ease the heavy dependence on Europe’s photovoltaic module production, drastically reducing Germany’s manufacturing capacity. Earlier on, Meyer Burger announced that Solar Valley planned to reverse the ongoing trend and bring back Germany’s title.
Ideally, the trends dubbed as a ‘disruptive necessity’ continue to globalize the solar industry and facilitate photovoltaic (PV) technologies’ commercialization. The trends continue to unlock more PV technology applications as an affordable energy source, thereby attracting substantial interest from private investors, the government, and industries. Currently, solar power is considered among the crucial technologies that seek to rapidly revolutionize sustainable energy sources, accelerating the power industry’s transformation.
A 2019 report by International Energy Agency (IEA) showed that the renewable energy sector received an investment of nearly €320 billion to develop better energy technologies, indicating a steady increase in the demand despite the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. While assessing solar power’s future, it is evident that there are a growing worldwide prominence and the significant role that solar energy plays on the ever-growing and innovative energy blend.
During a public address in July, Q CELLS announced the plans to invest approximately €125 million into the company’s Research and Development Center in Solar Valley for three years. The company allocated €20 million for setting up machinery and apparatus that support its quest to lead and commercialize a new generation of photovoltaic technologies with high efficiency and performance. Dr. Daniel Jeong, the chief technology officer at Q CELLS, said that the company’s investment provides a firm foundation for new revolutionary technologies that Q CELLS plans to develop within Germany and make available to worldwide solar markets.
To conclude, it is only logical to look back at some of the birthplaces of photovoltaic technologies, such as Germany, to evaluate the changes over the past couple of years; for how do we know where we are heading without considering our origin.