The Greater Phoenix Economic Council sent representatives to Germany this week in hopes luring more solar companies to the Valley.
GPEC is meeting with 26 solar companies between Sunday and Wednesday, with three site tours planned.
German companies represent some of the best of what the solar industry has to offer, said Chris Camacho, senior vice president of business development for GPEC.
“They are the largest consumer of the technology, and they hold a lot of the intellectual property in the crystalline (solar panel) space,” he said.
GPEC has been courting solar companies since the passage of state incentives for renewable energy producers that bring high-wage jobs to the city.
The federal changes in the investment tax credit have brought attention to U.S. solar development, and Camacho said GPEC is attempting to market Arizona locations to those companies.
About 70 percent of the companies GPEC has talked with are considering locating manufacturing facilities in the U.S., 10 percent are looking for research and development locations here, and 20 percent are seeking headquarters sites.
Germany, the world’s largest exporter of solar power and technologies, is home to many companies that are looking to expand their brands and see the U.S. as a growing market. With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requiring that supplies for renewable energy products be made in the U.S., companies are looking for locations here, Camacho said.
“The fact that there is at least another six years of support for (the tax credit) is a stabilizing force in the solar industry,” he said, referring to the state tax credits, which don’t expire until 2016.
In addition to the growing Arizona market, GPEC plans to tout its proximity to California, which has higher renewable energy standards for utilities and is one of the country’s hottest solar markets.