Will the ongoing job creation of the German solar sector end in 2021? EUPD Research calculations reveal that a cut of more than 18,000 jobs is immanent resulting from a dramatic decrease of new solar installation when the 52 GW solar cap has been reached.

Bonn 14th May 2020. For some years now, the German photovoltaic (PV) sector has recorded increasing numbers of installations again resulting in positive employment figures. Since then more than 29,000 direct employees have been working in this sector and the employment situation is rather stable despite the Coronavirus pandemic. This positive development may come to a standstill in the immediate future, when the 52 GW solar cap is reached. A job cut of more than 50% of the current workforce has to be anticipated until the end of 2021.
The market and economic research organization EUPD Research calculated economic impacts for two development scenarios for the German PV market until 2023: a baseline scenario including effects of the Coronavirus pandemic as well as a scenario analyzing the impact of the solar cap. For both scenarios, the average annual number of direct employees amounts to about 29,000 in the German PV sector for 2020.
Substantial differences become evident for 2021: For the baseline scenario, a significant growth by 7,700 jobs can be expected totaling almost 36,800 in 2021. Here, the solar market in Germany benefits from a general growth trend as well as from a catch-up effect resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic. On the contrary, the number of employees is anticipated to go down to 18,700 jobs in 2021 in the solar cap scenario because of the strong decrease in new solar installations. A direct comparison of both scenarios reveals a difference of 18,100 jobs or a job cut by 49% in 2021. In addition, the solar sector may have to anticipate a direct decline in sales by more than 3 billion euros.

“Current forecast results show that a continued existence of the solar cap can – even in the short-term – have massive negative effects for employees, summarizes Dr Martin Ammon, managing partner of EUPD Research.

EUPD Research analyses underline the significant threat for thousands of jobs in medium-sized businesses, caused by the solar cap. The political point-scoring and blocking at the expense of solar businesses cannot be justified any longer. Already months ago the federal government decided on the long overdue abolition of the solar cap. The cap must be removed without further delay”, comments Alexander Schütt, managing director of BayWa r.e. Solar Energy Systems GmbH.

Ralf Ossenbrink, PR & Communications for E3/DC, emphasizes: “In previous years, new jobs were created in companies that are especially innovative and that develop smart technologies for climate-neutral buildings. The dynamic growth continues in 2020. In our view, it would be careless and irresponsible jeopardizing this important and future-oriented sector by inactivity and by setting the course in a wrong direction.

“I must call on the government to not put off climate protection measures agreed upon any longer. Especially now it is an important signal to support the sector that offers 100,000 people a livelihood”, explains Detlef Neuhaus, CEO SOLARWATT GmbH.

“Besides my responsibility for SHARP Energy Solutions, I am also making an urgent plea to the government in my capacity as BSW (Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft/ German Solar Association) board member. The 52 GW solar cap, which may be reached in summer, must immediately be abolished. We need support and rapid actions by the government without further delays. It is an important decision concerning industry, medium-sized businesses and the society as a whole. The government must act now”, states Peter Thiele, President SHARP Energy Solutions Europe.

The current EUPD Research market analysis is being supported by leading representatives of the solar and battery storage sector: BayWa r.e., E3/DC, Sharp und SOLARWATT.