German Solar Ventures Outpace Goal as Projects Remain Profitable

German developers added a record number of solar panels in the first 11 months of last year, more than double the quantity targeted by the government.

Solar installations rose 62 percent to about 7,274 megawatts from January through November, compared with about 4,502 megawatts a year earlier, according to data from federal grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur. The government had sought to limit capacity additions to a maximum of 3,500 megawatts.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has cut solar-power subsidies to reduce the burden on consumer electricity bills of Germany’s renewable-energy expansion. Still, the above-market tariffs remain at levels that allow developers to profit, while component prices have continued to drop amid an oversupply.

Environment Minister Peter Altmaier plans to propose changes to the renewables subsidy system in March to prevent a voter backlash against rising energy costs before an election in the autumn. Subsidies in 2013 will amount to about 20.4 billion euros ($27 billion), paid for through consumers’ power bills.

There are signs that solar installations have been slowing recently. Germany added 435 megawatts of panels in November, down from 659 megawatts a year earlier, the regulator said.

Solar installations may top 8,000 megawatts for 2012, Altmaier said in November. That compares with about 7,500 megawatts a year earlier, when developers added about 3,000 megawatts in December to beat subsidy cuts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stefan Nicola in Berlin at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at

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