Meeting with Federal Environment Minister Röttgen with industry representatives
Support mechanism for photovoltaics to be retained in principle
On Thursday, January 19th 2012, Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen and representatives of the solar industry met to discuss future market developments for photovoltaics and how to deal with the recent spike in new PV deployment. In December alone, approximately 3 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity were installed. Among the factors contributing to this development were the pull-forward effect of cuts in support scheduled to take effect at the turn of the year and the renewed discussions about a volume quota ("cap"). Federal Environment Minister Röttgen now intends to adjust support for solar power in the EEG (Renewable Energy Sources Act) on a monthly basis in the future, or at least on a quarterly basis. His aim in taking such a step is to limit new PV deployment to a greater extent. There are no plans for additional reductions beyond the 24 percent per year currently specified in the EEG.
Prior to discussions, it was already clear that the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) opposes a fixed cap. In recent weeks, there had been repeated calls for such a measure, in particular from the economic wing of the CDU/CSU and from the Federal Minister of Economics. The revision now planned by the BMU requires an amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) in coming months.
The atmosphere of the meeting was open and constructive. The industry representatives made it clear to the Federal Environment Minister that a continued robust expansion of the use of solar power is essential for the transformation of the energy system in Germany, that it enjoys broad support from the population at large, and that it is affordable. Particular attention was drawn to the significant success in reducing costs through technological development and mass production: A reduction of costs for PV systems by half in the last three years has enabled support for solar power to be reduced by the same rate during this period.
Already in this year, electricity from photovoltaic systems will have reached the level of household electricity prices. As a result, the further expansion of solar power will lead to only a minimal increase in the price of electricity. Over the next five years, the share of solar power in the electricity mix in Germany could rise from around four percent to around seven percent. Private electricity tariffs would thus only increase by two percent, according to recent calculations made by Prognos AG.