The Formation of Photovoltaic Clusters in Eastern Germany
One of the weaknesses of the East German economy is the relative lack of management functions and headquarters along with the relatively low research and developing efforts of the companies. With the emergence of new industries, there is a chance to respond to these weaknesses. Against this background, the article examines the emergence and development of the photovoltaic industry in Eastern Germany. The strong production and sales growth of the industry in the recent years is a result of central government funding programs. But up to now, East German regions have profited disproportionately from the growth of the sector. In 2008, we find about 14 000 direct industry employees in this sector in Eastern Germany. Based on the Window of Locational Opportunity concept (WLO) by Storper and Walker – a stage model of industrial development –, this article describes the reasons of the development of the industry in Eastern Germany from 1996 until 2008. In spite of persistent growth processes and the foundation of new companies within the photovoltaic industry, a concentration on some certain locations, linked with the process of the formation of industrial clusters, becomes apparent. In a first result of the emergence of clusters, the regions of Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Dresden/Freiberg, Erfurt/Arnstadt, Frankfurt (Oder) and Berlin build leading sites in Eastern Germany.