Global solar shares boosted by Germany’s first Green win

29. March 2011 | Top News, Markets & Trends, Industry & Suppliers, Investor news | By:  Becky Stuart

Solar stocks around the world have risen after Winfried Kretschmann became the first regional Green Party president in German history. In an interview with pv magazine Wolfgang Seeliger speaks about the country’s political influence on the rest of the world, as well as what the win could mean for PV.

Solar panels

Solar stocks are stronger thanks to Germany's first Green win. Image: Flickr/k♥money.

For the first time in nearly six decades, the conservative state of Baden-Württemberg turned its back on Angela Merkel’s CDU (Christian Democratic Government) in favor of the Green Party. The landmark vote consequently saw science teacher Kretschmann take the state’s helm on Sunday.

Following the news, global solar stocks have soared, thus signaling both the turnaround of public opinion towards nuclear since the Fukushima disaster in Japan began to unfold, and the intrinsic connection between Germany’s energy politics and the rest of the world.

In figures

Centrotherm’s stocks, for instance, have risen 2.45 percent since the green win on Sunday evening on the German Tecdax. Furthermore, various news sources have reported increases, albeit with minor discrepancies, in solar stocks. MSM Money, for example, writes that stocks of First Solar and Suntech rose by 1.9 percent and 4.4 percent respectively on Monday; MarketWatch puts these two figures at two percent and 3.9 percent.

It additionally reports that LDK Solar’s shares jumped by 5.4 percent (Bloomberg: 5.8 percent), SunPower’s by two percent, and JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd by 5.4 percent. Bloomberg, on the other hand, says that shares for Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. have climbed by 5.9 percent and JinkoSolar Holding Co. by 4.9 percent.

Sydbank's equities chief Ole Jensen also told Reuters: "We are seeing price rises today in all green shares as a consequence of this (Green election victory)."

Leading the renewable pack

Wolfgang Seeliger, director of corporate development and strategies for centrotherm tells pv magazine: "The analysts, portfolio managers, and the investors will know this kind of connection between local politics and energy politics on a national or even European or world level, so they’re well aware that we have a strong influence on politics coming from the local election here."

He adds that when it comes to renewable energy, the world looks to Germany, which has, for instance, positioned itself as the biggest PV market globally.

"The German market has always been, for renewables, some sort of lead market in the political sense," he says. "All countries of the world were looking closely at what German politics was doing with the feed-in tariff (FIT) for example, and how to introduce renewable energies, and everybody starts copying these systems. Likewise, when we cut our FIT, everybody else will be doing that as well.

"So, the implications of coming just from this little city of Stuttgart - implications coming from there through the state politics, through to Berlin politics are having an influence, in my opinion, on world politics altogether where the introduction of renewables is concerned. This is why, obviously, the stock markets have reacted that strongly."

Seeliger additionally believes that there has been a fundamental turnaround in public opinion "which is very clearly saying 'We don’t want  nuclear energy and we want more renewables'." He adds that in the short-term, we can expect solar stocks to rise, as they have done, while the medium to long term effects of this change should see the PV, and renewable energy, markets grow in Germany.

"I expect the markets to further grow, because what Angela Merkel has announced already is that she wants to transform the power supply system to a renewable system faster than she has done so in the past, whatever that is going to mean."

He concludes: "(…) in the medium, and certainly in the long term, we will see an impact on renewable energy, if not on PV with this government, then certainly with a green or red government in the future."

The aftermath

MSN News reports that from March 10 (the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11), significant share increases for the following solar companies have occured:

  • First Solar 9.45 percent
  • Trina Solar 18.04 percent
  • LDK Solar 6.94 percent
  • Suntech 9.80 percent
  • SunPower 12.76 percent
  • JA Solar Holdings 5.78 percent

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