29 Nov 2010 04:11:25
The Germans are coming...
What do Centrosolar, Solon, Wirsol, Azur Solar and Krannich have in common? They are German solar firms that have taken the early initiative and opened offices in the UK – while I'm sure the entire global solar industry want a slice of one the fastest growing markets in the world, these firms are not taking the "let's wait and see" strategy.
With hundreds of megawatts under development (well, maybe a lot are still in planning) and some pundits saying the UK could be a gigawatt market in 2010, what are the others waiting for?
Yes they are. I'm sure most of the major players in the planning phase and the one thing we all know about the Germans is when they have done the planning the execution will be done with beautiful efficiency.
The UK government will hold its nerve; rightfully or wrongfully it's not the treasury that's putting its hand in its pocket to cover FiTs its UK electricity customers. The UK government is serious about renewables and I repeat, WILL HOLD ITS NERVE!
Global supply chain issues aside, it's roughly 600 miles between Germany and UK; the demographics are almost ideal. With world-class German inventory management, lorry loads of quality solar/PV products could be crossing the channel in hours.
With relatively high unemployment, the rapid growth of solar/PV training schools and the highest ratio of temporary staffing levels across Europe, it won't take long before for a lot of UK construction workers are retrained.
OK – what I've pointed out is hardly the kind of SWOT analysis which is being discussed in boardrooms in Germany right now, but you see where I'm coming from.
The market opportunity in the UK is massive, and while the majority of the market is still learning to walk (I know some exceptions, I must point out), there is plenty of time for the major German players (and the smaller smart firms) to come over and gobble up market share.
By this time next year I’m sure we'll see the likes of IBC, Phoenix , Gehricher, and Donauer in a neighbourhood near you (well that's if you live in the UK) – by this time next year the UK solar landscape is going to look completely different.