Solar installations in Germany are expected to reach 3.9 GW this year, according to Markus Lohr, chief analyst at EuPD Research.
Speaking at the company's recent German PV Market Briefing, Lohr explained that based on primary data, the large-scale project sector has risen in importance on the German PV market. Market share for this type of system has grown, especially in the eastern region.
Despite an overall decrease in new PV systems, EuPD Research expects ‘significant peaks’ to occur during the months of June and July. Nevertheless, Lohr said he fears that the situation for installers will become much more difficult.
Overall, module prices – and, as a result, system costs – are set to decrease further. For manufacturers and module manufacturers, this situation will create more acute competition. Many installation companies – especially those specializing in solar energy systems – are also expected to leave the business in the second half of the year.
Current studies show that 40% of German installers are already searching for alternatives in order to deal with the changing market, according to EuPD Research. Storage technology, for example, could provide a viable alternative business sector for some of these companies.
Although there are currently no concrete details regarding Germany's subsidization of storage technologies, Cornelia Viertl, a representative for solar and geothermal energy from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, outlined current political endeavors. Viertl explained that a market incentive program is currently being planned in Berlin, but so far, there has been only speculation on the program's start date.
Participants at the briefing event weighed in on a variety of issues. Approximately half of those present (47.4%) believed that Germany's landmark solar incentive program would be retained in its current form after this summer. This was a significantly higher percentage in comparison to last year, when just a fifth (21%) of the participants believed the program would continue.
With regard to the development of system prices, the majority of participants were convinced that prices would sink further over the course of the year. Around half presumed once again that prices would sink less than the feed-in tariff, whereas 16% thought that prices could sink more rapidly than the subsidy. A similar share of participants expected that prices would recover and increase slightly.
Most of the participants (39%) assumed that all market representatives would be equally affected by declining prices, and 13% believed that the price reduction would hit module manufacturers the hardest. However, 10% were convinced that installers would bear most of the costs.