Germany: 664 MW of PV installed in June; 15 percent incentive cut likely

According to recent figures from the German Federal Network Agency, new photovoltaic installations amounted to approximately 664 megawatts (MW) in June. As such, it seems likely that incentives will drop by 15 percent next year.

German solar incentives set to be slashed following a period of high photovoltaic installations. Image: Phoenix Solar AG.

However, the website of the official authority points out that these are only preliminary figures. It adds, “More precise preliminary figures for June will soon be published.” An exact date could not be obtained on request.

Nevertheless, it still appears that there will be a reduction of at least 15 percent in solar subsidies at the turn of the year. What will determine the size of the reduction in remuneration tariffs for photovoltaic systems will be the number of additional installations built between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011.

According to the data made available by agency, more than 3,500 MW were already installed by June 2011. This represents the upper limit defined by the German federal government for a basic nine percent gradual reduction in remuneration tariffs for photovoltaic systems as of January 1, 2012.

But the capacities for the third quarter have yet to be determined. The agency refrained from providing figures regarding additionally built installations in the months of July and August.

On September 8, Reuters announced that approximately 800 MW had been installed in July and about 450 MW in new photovoltaic output in Germany in August. Hans-Josef Fell, the energy expert from Germany’s Green Party thus assumes that solar subsidies will drop by at least 15 percent by the turn of the year.

The photovoltaic remuneration tariffs for small rooftop installations would then still amount to a maximum 24.4 euro cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and 17.9 euro cents per kWh for outdoor photovoltaic installations.

“The runaway costs predicted by the opponents of photovoltaic technology have not materialized. Since the beginning of the year approximately half as many photovoltaic systems were installed than in the same period last year,” noted Fell.

With the exception of January 2011, additional installations failed to achieve the level of the previous year in every month since October 2010. This also appears to be the case for July 2011.

In the opinion of many experts, there will probably be new photovoltaic installations with a capacity of between 4,500 and 5,500 MW built in Germany during the respective period, which would mean a gradual decrease of 15 percent.