Suntech, Trina See German Solar Market Reaching 6-7 Gigawatts

Suntech Power Holdings Co. and Trina Solar Ltd, the largest and fourth-biggest solar-panel makers, said Germany may install as much as seven gigawatts of the devices this year.

“Our numbers say that somewhere between 6 and 7 gigawatts is still achievable this year in Germany,” Jerry Stokes, Suntech’s European unit president, said today in an interview in Munich. Trina Chief Executive Officer Jifan Gao said in a separate interview that “it’s possible” the market in Germany will reach that level.

Germany, the world’s second-biggest solar market in 2011 behind Italy, installed about 2.3 gigawatts in the first four months of the year. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government wants to reduce the pace of annual installations by about half after new projects peaked at 7.5 gigawatts last year.

The government and the country’s 16 federal states are in talks over proposed cuts to solar subsidies after state leaders last month blocked a plan for aid reductions of as much as 29 percent on concern the legislation will hurt domestic manufacturers including Solarworld AG that are already suffering from Chinese competition.

“As the feed-in tariffs become clear, and one element almost certainly will be that large ground-mounted projects will be discouraged, it will grow people’s confidence in the residential sector,” Suntech’s Stokes said.

The BSW-Solar industry lobby said in April it expected an installation rally that may last through September developers try to beat planned subsidy cuts.

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