The Spatial Clustering of the Photo-voltaic Industry in Berlin-Brandenburg
Recent empirical studies show a process of selective clustering in the photo-voltaic industry in East Germany. Especially locations like Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Freiberg/Dresden, Erfurt/Arnstadt and Berlin-Brandenburg were able to attract concentrations of economic activity in this industry. Regarding competition between the different locations for production and employment, emerging agglomeration economies can be seen as one major source increasing inter-regional competitiveness. The aim of this article is to provide insights into the process of spatial clustering of photo-voltaic industry in Berlin-Brandenburg. With the help of a multi-dimensional cluster-concept developed by Bathelt, we analyse the region’s strengths and weaknesses regarding its generation of agglomeration economies. The analysis shows that there are indeed first signs of agglomeration economies developing in the region. Despite a low level of horizontal cooperation, companies do profit from co-localisation by continuous observation of the local competitors. Along the value adding production chain, vertical co-operation is increasing, leading to positive effects by specialised suppliers and gains in transportation cost. But the focal point in further industry development is the augmentation of the regional stock of knowledge. Regarding the increasing pressure on the companies’ innovativeness as a result of changes in market conditions in the photo-voltaic sector, only innovative and efficiently producing companies will be able to survive the industries’ consolidation period. Therefore, it is necessary to further support the increasing interconnectedness between university research, non-university research and local companies in order to profit from the high technological potential of the companies in the region.