BERLIN, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Germany's investment framework, research landscape, and talented workforce are pushing the country's photovoltaics (PV) sector toward grid parity, the point at which PV generation will cost the same for the consumer as electricity from the grid. An overview of these and other investment advantages in Germany will be featured at Intersolar North America 2008, July 15-17 in San Francisco, California.

Today Germany is the world's largest solar energy market. Its 3.8 GWp (Gigawatts peak) of installed PV capacity consists of nearly half of the global solar energy market. This strong capacity is making PV a lucrative enterprise for many companies. 2007 revenue in the PV industry hit EUR 5.7 billion. High oil prices and Germany's commitment to reduce CO2 emissions mean that there is still plenty of growth in the future for solar energy. The market is expected to grow approximately 25% in coming years, and Germany's PV capacity might exceed 6 GWp by 2010.

Research Landscape and Investment Framework Drive Industry

The country has a talented workforce with many years of experience in solar energy and solar energy products. This understanding of the PV industry stretches beyond engineers and scientists to regulatory authorities, who are supportive of PV investments and process applications for new construction products in a timely fashion.

Germany's technical experts and research institutes are on the cutting edge in PV technology. For example, the Helmholz Centre in Berlin (formerly the Hahn-Meitner Institute HMI) is engaging in advanced research on thin-film crystalline silicon solar cells.

A positive investment framework is one of the main reasons that Germany has become the home to many renewable energies companies. Its Renewable Energies Sources Act (EEG in German) mandates that owners of PV equipment, such as solar systems, be paid a "feed-in tariff" for solar energy that is sold into the public grid. The tariff remains the same for 20 years, thus making it profitable for homeowners, businesses, and other institutions to own solar panels and add to the share of renewable energies in Germany's power grid.

Reformed EEG: Securing Germany's Advantages

The EEG calls for the "feed-in tariff" to fall every year, to encourage the industry to find efficiencies and cost reductions. The reformed EEG, recently approved by both houses of Germany's legislature, has set the annual reduction at between eight and ten percent in 2009 and 2010 and nine percent annually for 2011 and onwards.

"The new EEG keeps the basic investment framework in place that has allowed Germany to become a thriving PV investment location for many PV companies, including American market leaders such as First Solar," noted Nikolai Dobrott, head of the Renewable Energies team at Invest in Germany. "The accelerated degression rate will only intensify the already fierce competition to achieve grid parity, a goal that aims to bring PV fully into the mainstream and precipitate higher returns for PV investors," added Dobrott.

Invest in Germany is the inward investment promotion agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. It provides investors with comprehensive support from site selection to the implementation of investment decisions. Invest in Germany can be found in the German Pavilion at stand 9800B.

Invest in Germany GmbH, Headquarters, T: +49-30-200-099-0, F: +49-30-200-099-111, ; Media Contact: Eva Henkel, T:+49-30-200-099-173, F:+49-30-200-099-111, .

Invest in Germany GmbH, Headquarters, T: +49-30-200-099-0, F: +49-30-200-099-111, ; Media Contact: Eva Henkel, T:+49-30-200-099-173, F:+49-30-200-099-111, .