Germany’s solar industry’s business climate improved the most this decade as consumers increase purchases of cheaper rooftop systems and batteries, a quarterly survey shows.
The BSW solar industry’s business climate index rose in the first quarter to the highest since 2010 in a sign that companies are confident of boosting sales this year, the Berlin-based group said Wednesday. BSW contacted 77 companies active in all parts of the industry from March 20 to March 31.
Prices for rooftop solar panels and batteries in Germany are falling faster than payments made in the nation’s feed-in-tariff program. The government this year preserved so-called feed-in tariffs or guaranteed payments for small clean power units after introducing auctions for utility-scale projects.
Retail consumers can install high-quality solar systems on their roofs and link to subsidized batteries for a few thousand euros after unit prices dropped by 70 percent in a decade, BSW Managing Director Carsten Koernig said. Germans want to tap solar power for personal use at home, he said.
By comparison, FIT payments for rooftop systems installed after Jan. 1 this year were 12.3 euro cents (13.04 U.S. cents) a kilowatt-hour for typical household projects, according to BSW. That compares with 13.15 euro cents a kilowatt-hour paid for systems installed in mid-2014.
Germany installed 52,000 new rooftop systems last year with a capacity of about 1.52 gigawatt, bringing total installs to 1.5 million units, including 50,000 batteries, according to the Bnetza regulator. The BSW said it expects double-digit sales growth this year.