The Solar PV Industry in Germany in 2011
In Germany we will likely install about 8 gigawatts (GW) of new solar systems by the end of this year, meaning Germany will double its market compared to 2009 and hence would follow the worldwide trend (the world market 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 and projections, but the situation is much more complex. The following are my thoughts on factors that could impact the solar industry in Germany in 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 be aware of their responsibility for the future development of the PV market in Germany and they must not underestimate the signalling effect of “adjustments” on other markets around the world.
- Based on current market trends, several politicians see a risk of unsustainable costs for electricity consumers as the allocation costs for the EEG promotion have increased up to 3.5 euro cents per kilowatt-hour in 2010, which translates to a share of 50% for PV. This is why the PV industry in Germany is faced again and again with discussions around more PV installations and their impact on the price of electricity.
- The solar PV industry in Germany has ambitious targets in its roadmap and wants to keep allocation costs under 2 euro cents per kilowatt-hour. To make this happen, industry wants to install 52 to 70 GW by 2020 — in connection with a decrease in system prices of at least 50% — this target should be achievable.
- It will also be important that political leaders realize that PV costs are rapidly decreasing and in a few years will not only be competitive and predictable, but will advance to one of the most cost-effective forms of energy. Moreover, PV is essential and indispensable to the necessary restructuring of the energy supply in Germany in order to achieve a maximum share of power from renewables. Nevertheless, during upcoming discussion, it will be very important to discuss new, creative solutions to keep the uptake of PV solar socially acceptable. 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 industry in Germany, the market will need a reliable regulatory framework, appropriate incentives and industrial policies that makes it possible for the industry to achieve its ambitious targets.