But there is more; let’s take a look.
Over the past three decades, Germany has become the world’s leader in solar technology since its beginnings in the early 1980’s. The end of the 1990s saw dramatic growth after the offer of major incentives from the German government that made solar products “financially very interesting”
Germany, as well as Spain, is on target to meet 20% of its energy needs with renewable sources by 2020. That puts them well ahead of the U.S. In Germany it is already a €235 billion (US$313 billion) industry that results in a large number of jobs.
Actually, the answer to why the German companies chose Colorado is rather clear. Colorado is a leader in the renewable energy industry which includes solar energy. Renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE/EE) industries are significant economic drivers in Colorado and the state is well positioned for future growth. For example, In 2007 RE/EE generated $10.3 billion in sales and provided over 91,000 jobs in Colorado, accounting for more than 4% of the gross state product.
Colorado is a disproportionately large player in the U.S. renewable energy industry. Colorado’s gross state product accounts for only about 1.7% of the U.S. GDP, but in 2007 Colorado had about 6% of the U.S. wind market, nearly six percent of the photovoltaics market, and about 5% of the bio-fuels market.
According to Ernst & Young's quarterly Renewable Energy Attractiveness Index released recently Colorado ranks 3rd overall in the USA because of its scores for state renewable energy markets, renewable energy infrastructures, and their suitability for individual technologies.
The Solar Foundation, reports that Colorado employed 6,100 people in 2011 in the solar industry alone. That number is up 16 percent since 2010. The number of solar jobs also surpassed the number of mining jobs in Colorado for the first time in history. Further, Colorado was named the number one state in the nation in solar jobs per capita and the number two state in solar jobs overall.
The Colorado solar market is almost evenly split between the residential, non-residential, and utility sectors with 18.7 megawatts of installed capacity from residential, 15.9 megawatts from non-residential, and 19.1 megawatts from utilities. Colorado had the third highest cumulative installed capacity at the end of 2010. The next few years will see additional large-scale utility projects coming online in our state.
The solar industry in Colorado is growing solidly. Odell Brewing in Fort Collins moved to a photovoltaic solar array, installed by Wirsol Solar Colorado Inc. (http://www.wirsol.com), to supply about 39 percent of its electricity needs. The installation comprises 384 General Electric crystalline silicon 200-watt panels on about 11,000 square feet of rooftop. It's anticipated that it will produce around 111,400 kilowatt hours annually.
Recently an executive with S:Flex GmBH’s American branch located in Colorado noted that his company had leased new larger facilities in November and has already outgrown them and needs more storage space.
As a result of its many advantages in available resources, 300 hundred days of sunshine and desirable locale, Colorado attracts strong interest from Germany, the leader in solar energy manufacturing and usage as seen in the visit of the seven companies from Germany. Soar is a big-dollar industry that results in large numbers of solid-paying jobs using American manufactured parts in the renewable energy industry reducing dependence on foreign sourced fossil fuels.
If you are involved in Colorado’s renewable energy industry, you will want to meet these seven German companies at the German American Chamber of Commerce’s exclusive networking reception on Thursday evening, March 15, 2013, at the Warwick Hotel. For more information or to register for the event visit http://www.GACCCO.org or call Ms. Inge Frerichs at 303 667-1737.
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The German American Chamber of Commerce - Colorado Chapter promotes international business between companies in the Rocky Mountain region and Germany and other German speaking countries of Europe. On the Web: www.gaccco.org .