And guess what? US Corporations are Investing in German Technology. George Bush has sold this country to the dogs.

The Week in Germany: Business, Technology and the Environment

July 20, 2007

Silicon Saxony: Germany at the Cutting-Edge Crossroads of the PV and Semiconductor Industries

Innovative semiconductor technologies and applications are being developed in Germany, where they are now increasingly also tapping into the immense potential offered by photovoltaic (PV) applications, the driving force behind the country’s booming solar power sector.

This was the topic at Invest in Germany’s executive luncheon “Made in Germany – the Growing Success Story for Next-Generation Solar and Semiconductor Companies” on Tuesday (July 17) in San Francisco, which concluded a two-day conference attended by 140 executives from both industries.

At this “Semicon West 2007” event, representatives of leading companies including Qimonda, AMD, Applied Materials, and Signet Solar discussed Germany as a location for high-tech investments and groundbreaking cooperation between the PV and semiconductor industries.

A semiconductor is usually created by silicon for commercial use. Semiconductor devices, electronic components made of semiconductor materials, are essential in modern electrical devices, from computers to cellular phones to digital audio players. A DRAM (dynamic RAM) is the most commonly used semiconductor memory product.

Dynamic technology hot spot

Munich-based Qimonda AG, the top 3 DRAM manufacturer worldwide, operates its largest semiconductor development center in Dresden. “We are located in ‘Silicon Saxony’ – one of the most dynamic technology hot spots in the world,” said Frank Prein, managing director of Qimonda Dresden.

Another leading semiconductor investor in Germany is AMD. The California-based company sees its presence in Germany, notably in Dresden, as essential to its global market success.

“With over $5 billion total investment in Dresden to date, AMD continues to utilize the excellent skill base in the region to develop and optimize next-generation microprocessor solutions,” said William Haerle, vice president for worldwide government relations at AMD.

Solid communication and cooperation structures among equipment makers, materials suppliers and chip makers are distinctive characteristics of the semiconductor industry. Such key relationships across the semiconductor value chain could also benefit PV cell and module makers by enhancing technical standards and production, which would in turn lead to lower prices and boost demand for solar power.

“The synergies between these two industries are increasing, providing promising business opportunities. In this respect, Germany plays a key role as the European leader in both semiconductor and PV technology,” said Claus Habermeier, senior manager at Invest in Germany’s Palo Alto office.

Highest density of PV producers worldwide

According to Winfried Hoffmann, chief technology officer of the Solar Business Group at Applied Materials, rapid growth of the solar energy market in Germany has created an enormous market potential for international semiconductor firms.

“Germany has the largest density of PV producers worldwide. Between 2007 and 2008 another 15 PV companies are planned with investments of about €1 billion in all steps of the value chain,” said Hoffmann.

The success of the PV industry is still strongly linked to existing government support programs. Equipment manufacturers with experience in both the semiconductor and the PV industry could offer PV producers the most effective technology to become competitive under market conditions.

“In the long run integrated manufacturing of thin wafers and subsequent cell and laminate making is probably the most effective route. With this technology cell efficiency gains of up to 24 percent – or even more for Si wafer technology by introducing nanomanufacturing technologies – could become a reality by 2020,” said Hoffmann.

American companies cooperate in Dresden

In Germany, two leading California companies, Applied Materials and Signet Solar, are demonstrating how cooperation between both industries can work: Signet Solar’s first low-cost silicon thin-film PV module plant in Dresden will use Applied Material’s technology.

“Signet Solar combines decades of semiconductor experience from Silicon Valley and Silicon Saxony to accelerate the adoption of PV thin-film silicon technology,” says Gunter Ziegenbalg, managing director of Signet Solar GmbH. “We are aiming for grid parity with solar modules made in Saxony within five years.”

Invest in Germany is the official investment promotion agency of Germany. Its mandate is to assist and advise international companies about investment opportunities in Germany. (Invest in Germany/TWIG)

Links:

Invest in Germany

The German-Indian-Silicon-Valley Solar Solution
(TWIG, Readings, July 20, 2007)

A Huge Success: Federal Environment Minister Presents Progress Report on Renewable Energy Sources Act (TWIG, July 13, 2007)

Cloudy Germany a Powerhouse in Solar Energy (TWIG, May 11, 2007)

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