The German Solar Industry in 2011

In  Germany we will likely install about 8 gigawatts (GW) of new solarsystems by the end of this year, meaning Germany will double its marketcompared to 2009 and hence would follow the worldwide trend (the worldmarket in 2009 was 7.5 GW and 2010 is predicted to be about 14.7 GW).

For 2011, the German industry expects about 6 GW of photovoltaics(PV) to be installed, a number which was published recently in the “Roadmap for the Solar Economy” by the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar).

In a perfect world we would be confident in these numbers andprojections, but the situation is much more complex. The following aremy thoughts on factors that could impact the solar industry in Germanyin the coming year.

  • In 2011 we will have the regular amendment to the German Renewable Energies Act (EEG). We don’t distend when we say this year will be decisive for the world’s largest PV market. However, political leaders and industry must beaware of their responsibility for the future development of the PVmarket in Germany and they must not underestimate the signalling effectof “adjustments” on other markets around the world.
  • Based on current market trends, several politicians see a risk ofunsustainable costs for electricity consumers as the allocation costsfor the EEG promotion have increased up to 3.5 euro cents perkilowatt-hour in 2010, which translates to a share of 50% for PV. Thisis why the PV industry in Germany is faced again and again withdiscussions around more PV installations and their impact on the priceof electricity.
  • The solar PV industry in Germany has ambitious targets in itsroadmap and wants to keep allocation costs under 2 euro cents perkilowatt-hour. To make this happen, industry wants to install 52 to 70GW by 2020 — in connection with a decrease in system prices of at least50% — this target should be achievable.
  • It will also be important that political leaders realize that PVcosts are rapidly decreasing and in a few years will not only becompetitive and predictable, but will advance to one of the mostcost-effective forms of energy. Moreover, PV is essential andindispensable to the necessary restructuring of the energy supply inGermany in order to achieve a maximum share of power from renewables.Nevertheless, during upcoming discussion, it will be very important todiscuss new, creative solutions to keep the uptake of PV solar sociallyacceptable. All parties should start here and be open-minded in order to come up with fresh ideas.

In conclusion, for a continued healthy expansion of the PV industryin Germany, the market will need a reliable regulatory framework,appropriate incentives and industrial policies that makes it possiblefor the industry to achieve its ambitious targets.

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