Germany’s advanced PV economy pays off

12. July 2011 | Applications & Installations, Global PV markets, Markets & Trends | By:  Jonathan Gifford

A recent survey by PV Legal has found that Germany’s photovoltaic installation and administrative system is delivering small-scale installations many times faster and more cost effectively than elsewhere in Europe.

An image of a German pv installation.

Grid-parity draws closer in Germany due to its advanced photovoltaic infrastructure. Image: Flickr/thetimchannel.

While the average time to connect a new small-scale system elsewhere in Europe is 14 to 50 weeks, the report found, in Germany it is only six weeks. Furthermore, administrative costs are also vastly lower in Germany, comprising only seven percent of the small-scale project costs – excluding equipment – as opposed to 19 to 65 percent elsewhere on the continent.

Banks and financial institutions also have played a role in the German photovoltaic market efficiency, observes PV Legal, with institutions developing expertise and products to facilitate widespread photovoltaic installation.

While the German Renewable Energies Act (EEG) remains central to the country’s renewable and photovoltaic sectors, falling module and system costs are bringing grid parity closer. pv magazine has followed the revisions in the act in detail over the previous weeks and months and it appears that fears of rapid reductions in feed-in tariffs appear unlikely.

Further support for the march towards grid parity has also been provided by Solarbuzz, which has observed system prices dropping 16 percent this year. As prices continue to fall aided by an efficiently operating and mature photovoltaic market, feed-in tariffs will become redundant as photovoltaic energy will become cheaper than conventional sources.

German Governmental support for photovoltaics continues beyond the EEG also, with funding for smart grid and energy storage technologies also being announced in the previous months.

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