Germany: Rösler considering longer FIT cut transition period

15. March 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Global PV markets, Markets & Trends | By:  Sandra Enkhardt

Germany’s debate over its solar subsides is continuing – with a focus on the short transition period for the reduction of the photovoltaic feed-in tariffs (FITs). However, in a positive move, the country’s Federal Minister for Economics seems ready to make concessions.

Landtag von Baden-Wuerttemberg

The photovoltaic FIT discussions are continuing in Germany.

Philipp Rösler (FDP) is considering expanding the transition period for the photovoltaic cuts. According to a report published in the Thursday edition of Germany’s Passauer Neuen Presse, he said he may consider whether orders, which were received approval before the February 23 announcement was made, should receive the old, higher remuneration rates.

The Bavarian Minister President and CSU leader, Horst Seehofer has now announced that he will negotiate with the FDP as quickly as possible. He called Rösler’s announcement "the right move".

The talks are now expected to continue during the Federal Assembly, which is set to elect a new president this Sunday. Seehofer is calling for further cuts, but in a way that security can be maintained.

SPD and Green Party state government aims to halt "blind cloak and dagger operation" on solar subsidies

In related news, Bad-Württemberg’s state government in Germany has announced its opposition to the planned photovoltaic cuts in the Upper House of Parliament. Representatives from the Green Party and the SPD formulated a corresponding resolution proposal.

The SPD and Green Party state government in Germany aims to stop the "thoughtless battering ram policy" on the part of the federal government with regard to solar subsidies. Bad-Württemberg passed a corresponding resolution proposal in the state parliament with the votes of the Green Party and the SPD.

The future-oriented photovoltaics industry "threatens to go down the drain as a result of the failed policy on subsidies," said Green Party delegate Daniel Renkonen during the debate. Therefore Bad-Württemberg will strongly advocate substantial changes to the planned Renewable Energy Act amendment in the Upper House of Parliament. The demand should be to have the federal government withdraw its plans and instead ensure reliability for the solar industry.

The state’s minister for the environment, Franz Untersteller (Green Party) pointed out how sharply prices for photovoltaic systems had fallen in recent years. And now manufacturers are to suffer a reduction of up to 43 percent again within three months, which would be impossible to bear.

Untersteller made reference to the fact that photovoltaics substantially lowers the price for electricity during peak load periods already at this point. Moreover, thanks to the Renewable Energy Act, approximately four gigawatts of photovoltaic output were installed and numerous jobs created in Bad-Württemberg in recent years. Now all of these successes are being thwarted by the policy of the federal government, according to the unanimous opinion of the Green Party delegates.

Untersteller reminded the federal government of its own energy concept from the year 2010, in which the government itself called for moderation when reducing the photovoltaic feed-in tariffs. Untersteller stressed that the Green Party also advocated a further reduction in photovoltaic subsidies, but this should be reconciled with market developments.

The Renewable Energy Act is not supposed to be a permanent subsidy for the photovoltaic industry, but the policy on subsidies still has to be reliable, added Renkonen. The SPD delegate Johannes Stober called on his colleagues to provide support for the Renewable Energy Act and develop it further. Thus there may be only cuts that are acceptable.

In contrast, the politicians from the CDU and FDP defended the plans pursued by the federal government. The FDP delegate Andreas Glück rejected the notion of an imminent collapse of the solar industry in view of the planned cuts. He made reference to similar responses on the part of the photovoltaic industry in the recent past, which never eventuated. Instead the industry continued to grow and the construction of additional photovoltaic installations in Germany constantly increased.

Edited by Becky Stuart; translated by Alan Faulcon and Becky Stuart.


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