This would be funny if wasn’t so funny. Where do we want to go broke today? Q-Cells is now the fourth major bankruptcy in the German solar industry sector of late and although they are sure to have made a lot of dumb mistakes themselves, they certainly couldn’t have gone bankrupt “this well” without the German government’s relentless and merciless help.
It’s all about drugs, subsidy drugs. And once these subsidy drugs had been administered – in this case promoting wonderful and environmentally friendly solar technology for the good of all German-kind (in a country where sunshine is still a news item) – most of these companies failed to wean themselves from their reliance upon them and made some bad business decisions as a result (decisions they wouldn’t have made if they had been clean).
In the meantime, Asian competitors in the real world learned to produce the solar technology cheaper (as usual) and, just to add a little insult to injury here, it turns out that the German government helped the Chinese solar industry with financial aid , too. Only they did this better than they did in Germany.
Then Berlin finally got tired of shelling out all this money back home and started reducing the dosage faster than the addicts could adapt to and, well, the rest is history, or Geschichte, if you prefer.
So what’s the moral of the story? Remember those nine most terrifying words in the English language: “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.”
Somehow the German government must have lost sight of the fact that its policy in fact encourages the demise of Germany’s own solar industry. The development bank of the government-owned KfW group of banks supports China’s green industry with low-interest loans. Ironically, the German Investment and Development Company (DEG), also a subsidiary of KfW, is one of the financial backers of Chinese industry giant Yingli Solar.