According to the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar), Germany ended 2011 with a record-setting amount of installed solar power generation – 60% more than what was installed in 2010 – despite the implementation of national feed-in-tariff (FIT) reductions.
Key reasons for the high demand for solar power were the sharp increase in prices for oil and gas, as well as the significantly lower costs for solar technology, the organization says. Since 2007, prices for turnkey solar power systems have fallen by more than half, and this price drop has allowed government support for solar to be reduced by the same extent.
‘The solar industry is making good on its promise to radically reduce costs,’ says Carsten Kornig, CEO of BSW-Solar. ‘As a next step, in 2013 or 2014, we will be able to match the support level of large ocean-based wind farms in initial market segments. This is the result of major efforts on the part of industry and research, combined with the effects of tough competition in international markets.’
At the beginning of 2011, incentives were reduced by 13%, and on Jan. 1, an additional 15% reduction for new systems went into place. The German government is initiating another reduction of up to 9% midyear.
‘What the solar industry now needs are reliable political conditions,’ Kornig remarks. ‘This is indispensable for the continued expansion of renewable energy sources and for maintaining an attractive climate of investment in Germany.’
Currently, solar power represents roughly 3% of the German electricity supply, and this share is expected to expand to roughly 10% by 2020, BSW-Solar says.