From the time the first solar park was built in 2009 to around 2020, prices continued to fall. This was mainly due to mass production – largely in Asia – and to the technological advances in solar modules. In 2020, it was possible to manufacture the components around 90 percent cheaper in the Far East. “Besides the quality, we always pay attention to the production conditions here,” assures Thorsten Jörß. “Before supply chain legislation was even discussed in Germany, our suppliers had to go through a prequalification process and prove that they met the required standards.” Another reason for the considerable cost reduction is the progress achieved in the areas of research and production. The more power a solar module produces, the lower the cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated. “While in 2009 we installed modules with an output of 90 watts per square meter in one of our first solar park projects in Leibertingen, today the figure is more than 200 watts per square meter.” And progress never sleeps. Manufacturers are already developing modules with an output of around 300 watts per square meter.
The considerable reduction in cost was an essential driver for making the technology marketable as the second regenerative form of generation after hydropower. And even though solar projects have had to cope with costs rising again in recent years, Jörß is convinced of the medium-term cost reduction: “We are currently experiencing a massive crisis with effects on supply chains and material availability, which should settle down again after a while.” Also, in view of the increasing number of new photovoltaic power plants in Germany and Europe, he views a further increase in production capacity in Europe as both sensible and necessary.