Strong End-of-Year Demand for Solar Power

Reasons are low prices, mild weather conditions, reduction of support measures at the turn of the year and concern about further cuts in support / Photovoltaic support reaches level of household electricity prices / Strong demand leads to further reduction of solar power support in 2012 by approx. 30 percent

The solar industry registered an unusually strong end-of-year demand for solar power in Germany, thereby making a significant contribution to the transformation of the energy system. Following a weak first six months, investment activity significantly increased towards the end of the year, according to industry figures. Overall, newly installed photovoltaic capacity for 2011 is expected to reach approximately the level of the previous year, as preliminary forecasts of the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar) indicate. This would mean a slowing of the steep growth trajectory of past years. In 2010, a total of 250,000 new solar power systems were installed in Germany, amounting to a capacity of around seven gigawatts.

The renewable energy sources act (EEG) goes hand in hand with the development that is emerging for 2011: In 2012, support for solar power will be significantly reduced in two steps, by 15 percent as of 1 January 2012 and by an expected further 15 percent as of 1 July 2012. This means that support measures for 2012 will be cut at twice the rate of 2011, as our corresponding diagram on the subject illustrates.

With remuneration payments of between 17.94 cents and 24.43 cents per kilowatt hour, the support level for new solar power systems has thus reached the price level of household electricity prices in Germany. As of 1 July, remuneration is likely to fall to between 15.25 and 20.77 cents. At the same time, the societal costs of the continued expansion of solar power have fallen significantly. “In the future, newly installed photovoltaic systems will have only a minimal impact on the consumer apportionment for renewable energy sources,” explains Carsten Körnig, Chief Executive Officer of BSW-Solar.

Through the strong growth in photovoltaics, its share of German electricity consumption in 2012 will increase to over four percent. The industry association expects this share, given moderate further growth, to grow to over ten percent by the year 2020. This makes solar power a key driver in the transformation of the energy system, which must be accelerated due to the withdrawal from nuclear power. The increased new deployment in 2011 was possible without substantial investments in the grid infrastructure, as solar power is produced near the point of consumption.

According to the industry association, the unexpectedly strong year-end sprint was due to an overlapping of several effects: Significantly lower prices for solar modules and turn-key solar power systems, mild weather conditions in December, the reduction, announced last fall, of support levels for solar power by 15 percent as of the beginning of the year, as well as the fear of a future cap on support for solar power that is fueled by some stakeholders in the political establishment. Another factor influencing the expansion of solar power is the flight into asset values that has been encouraged by the euro crisis.

Nevertheless, in light of global overcapacities, tough international competition and the deep cuts in support for solar power, the situation within the industry remains tense. Despite the stable and growing demand in Germany and in some other international markets, turnover and profits for 2011 remain below the expectations of many companies. The industry hopes for improvement through a significant upswing in international markets in the coming years. For Germany, the industry expects declining demand due to the statutory cuts in support for 2012, which will total approximately 30 percent.

by BSW-Solar

Advertisment - Learn more

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

×

Kylie from Lammermoor, QLD asked for 3 quotes for solar about 15 hours ago!

John from Tanah Merah, QLD asked for 3 quotes for solar about 16 hours ago!

James from Lota, QLD asked for 3 quotes for solar about 16 hours ago!

Tony from Kensington Grove, QLD asked for 3 quotes for solar about 16 hours ago!

Michelle from Oak Valley, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar about 17 hours ago!

Tanya from Kingston, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar about 20 hours ago!

Tracey from Mooroolbark, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar about 20 hours ago!

Kris from Dimbulah, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar about 23 hours ago!

Barbara from Bass, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar about 23 hours ago!

GAyle from Point Cook, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Sue from Witta, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Cj from Toomulla, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Ilyas from Narre Warren South, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Lesley from Andergrove, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Sailesh from Werribee, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Tanya from Beaconsfield, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Anna from Seymour, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

matti from Innisfail, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Timothy from Peregian Springs, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Megan from Camberwell, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!