BSW: Germany to invest over €5 billion in its solar industry

However the association said, in an opening speech at Intersolar Europe, that a precondition to this investment is the "energy system transformation and the creation of reliable political framework conditions".

BSW-Solar went on to say that, in 2010, Germany-based solar companies had a record year, having achieved sales worth approximately €20 billion. Broken down, production sales reaped €16 billion, of which exports accounted for over half, while sales in the area of skilled trades accounted for €4.2 billion.

According to Carsten Körnig, managing director of BSW-Solar, ‘Made in Germany’ solar products are "highly sought after". In terms of installations, he added that last year saw a "marked increase" in newly installed solar capacity, with 7.4 gigawatts (GW) being installed.

Körnig continued: "In Germany, solar power is increasingly becoming a key factor in the energy mix: after reaching 1.1 percent of the gross electricity consumption in 2009, the share of solar power increased to nearly two percent in 2010.

"The German Solar Industry Association expects another increase for the year 2011, to approximately three percent. By 2020, we will be able to increase the share of solar power to 10 percent, without any notable added costs to consumers."

Solar heating

BSW-Solar also believes there is potential in the solar heating industry. "There are favorable conditions for more houses to be heated by the power of the sun in the future," said Körnig. With the new edition of the market incentive program in 2011, the association believes that the German Government has created an attractive stimulus program to support the sector.

"In this year’s funding pot, there are €312 million for renewable heating technology. The support rates for solar heating have improved significantly," he states. "In German boiler rooms there is an enormous renovation backlog, which must be taken care of if Germany’s climate goals are to be met."

However, although these figures are positive, the BSW-Solar is said to be "very concerned" about Germany’s planned solar power legislation. Particularly incomprehensible, it says, are the massive reductions in financial incentives for the direct consumption of solar power produced by consumers themselves.

"Solar power consumed directly where it is generated reduces the costs of network expansion. In addition, the financial advantage that come from the direct consumption bonus drives the market for intelligent consumption control and storage solutions," concluded Körnig.