Photo: Flickr / Earthworm
Q-Cells, one of the biggest solar cell manufacturers in Germany and the world, has filed for bankruptcy, Spiegel Online reports. It’s the fourth German solar energy company to go bust in recent times.”…the executive board has reached the conclusion that a going concern … cannot be restored on a sufficiently secure legal basis,” the group said in a statement, according to AFP.
Q-Cells reportedly lost €846 million ($1.1 billion) in 2011. German solar energy subsidies, competition from China, and corporate failures are said to be responsible.
Germany has been struggling with the decision to replace nuclear energy completely with renewable energy for a while. They are already struggling with a shortfall, which they have been forced to combat with exported nuclear energy in a seemingly counterproductive move.
Ironically, the very subsidies that were meant to boost the solar power industry could be responsible for its downfall. The increase in demand it created led to China filling the gap, BusinessWeek reports, ultimately winning out with cheaper labour and material costs as compared to their German counterparts. And while it isn’t the end of the German solar industry just yet, the government’s plans to make further cuts to solar subsidies could only hurt smaller companies.
Q-Cells’ downfall will be especially significant, given it was the cornerstone around which Germany’s Solar Valley (a play on “Silicon Valley”) was built in a former brown-coal area in Saxony-Anhalt.
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