Germany's Federal Network Agency has confirmed a record installation total of 7.5 GW in 2011, with especially significant growth in the large-scale project segment.
In December alone, 2,980 MW of solar was installed, according to an analysis of the Federal Network Agency's figures by market research firm EuPD Research. A total of 41% of those projects were 1 MW or greater.
In 2011, Germany's Bavaria region led the pack, with 1,750 MW installed, followed by Brandenburg, with 1,000 MW installed. This regional shift is largely due to the expansion of open-field systems, EuPD Research says.
Certain project-size segments, however, have slowed considerably. Projects between 10 kW and 50 kW took an especially severe hit. In 2010, this segment totaled more than 2,600 MW of installations, but it failed to reach 2,000 MW in 2011 – a decline of 22%.
In Bavaria, Baden Wuttenberg and Schleswig-Holstein, market volume has decreased in comparison to last year. In Germany's eastern region, installations have grown, driven primarily by large-scale systems. Small and midsize plants have also shown positive growth rates. The <10 kW segment showed growth in all provinces except Baden-Wuttenberg.
Overall, the established states seem to be in retreat, according to EuPD Research. The first signs of saturation may be a possible explanation for this, but the strong growth rates at the end of the year tend to suggest that the demand is still healthy.
Even the much-revived demand in the first quarter of 2012 does not suggest a saturation of the market, says Rene Mund, an analyst at EuPD Research. The company says an even stronger fourth quarter in 2011 would have been possible had it not been for limited availability and capacity among installers.
Currently, EuPD research forecasts a capacity increase in 2012 of approximately 5.9 GW in Germany.