German Solar Industry May Support Moving Up Power Subsidy Cuts
Germany’s solar energy industry is open to accelerating part of a reduction in subsidies should installations grow too quickly, a lobby group said.
A portion of a planned cut in guaranteed prices for solar power could be moved forward to mid-2011 from the beginning of 2012, Carsten Koernig, head of the BSW German industry lobby, told Focus magazine. The 13 percent reduction planned for solar capacity added in 2012 could widen to 21 percent depending on how many panels are installed in 2011, Koernig said. His comments were confirmed by David Wedepohl, a BSW spokesman.
German consumers subsidize power from renewable sources as the government seeks to reduce carbon-dioxide output and promote solar panel and wind turbine manufacturing. Public acceptance of that model may be at risk as household electricity bills rise on a jump in solar installations, according to the ZEW Center for European Economic Research.
Koernig didn’t specify the level of 2012 cuts the German solar industry would support moving to mid-2011. Guaranteed tariffs for panels installed next year are scheduled to be cut by 13 percent on Jan. 1 as part of the country’s renewable energy law, which successively reduces aid to the industry.
Some 7 to 8 gigawatts of solar capacity will be added in Germany this year, according to Wedepohl. That compares with a “healthy” growth rate of 3 to 5 gigawatts a year in the period to 2020, he said, without specifying what amount the BSW expects to be installed in 2011.
Germany pared subsidies more than planned this year after panel prices tumbled, leading to a glut in the German market and rising electricity costs for consumers.
German households will pay 3.53 euro cents per kilowatt- hour of consumed electricity in renewable energy subsidies next year, up from 2.05 cents in 2010, Germany’s four power transmission grid operators said in October. One kilowatt-hour is enough to power a 100-watt light bulb for 10 hours.
The government wants to boost the share of renewable energy to at least 30 percent of gross power output by 2020, according to the Environment Ministry’s website.
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