Nema Etheridge for GlobalAtlanta
Georgia businesses working in renewable energy will have a chance to meet German companies specializing in solar energy production at a Tuesday, Nov. 28, conference in Orlando, Fla.

The conference, which is being co-organized by the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States Inc. that is headquartered in Atlanta, will feature professionals working in Germany’s well-established solar energy industry.

The meeting comes just five days after E.U. energy officials regrouped in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss the future of renewable energy on the continent and ways European businesses can remain globally competitive in the industry.

Seven German companies are expected to attend the Orlando conference to look for business opportunities in Florida and share their experiences in the solar energy production industry, said Jan Wiedemann, manager of marketing and consulting services at DEinternational, a division of the German chamber.

Mr. Wiedemann, who is hosting the visiting companies, told GlobalAtlanta that recent initiatives by the Florida government to encourage solar energy production make the state an attractive market for German companies.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law an energy incentives bill this summer that offers rebates to Floridians who implement solar energy systems in their homes or businesses.

Government incentives are what caused Germany’s renewable energy industry to develop, Mr. Wiedemann said, noting that businesses have been working in the industry since the late 1990s.

“After Japan, Germany is the second biggest market for photovoltaic [or solar panel] systems in the world,” said Mr. Wiedemann.

“Now German companies are in a good position to establish themselves in foreign countries,” he said, adding that the German Federal Ministry of Economics, which is sponsoring the Orlando conference, is looking at the entire United States as a viable market for its renewable energy businesses.

Even President Bush said that America must reduce its dependency on foreign oil, which is a sign to German companies that the renewable energy industry is about to take off in the U.S. “There is a huge growing market here,” Mr. Wiedemann said.

With assistance from the German government, the Atlanta-based chamber has organized two previous conferences on renewable energy procurement in Austin, Texas, which featured German companies specializing in both wind and solar energy systems.

The German ministry has also worked with other chambers across the U.S. to put on renewable energy conferences in Chicago, New York and San Francisco.

The upcoming Orlando conference is also scheduled to feature professionals from Florida’s private sector, represented by the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association, which is working with the chamber to put on the one-day event.

Representatives from the Florida Solar Industry Research and Education Foundation and the state government are also expected to attend.

For more information on the conference or the visiting German companies, contact Mr. Wiedemann at (404) 234-2245, or visit the German chamber’s Web site.