Germany: CDU business wing lashes out against solar subsidies

This appears to be a knee-jerk reaction: the transmission system operators publish figures on medium-term development of the EEG reallocation, and economic policymakers in the CDU then immediately demand a ceiling for photovoltaic technology.

"The costs for development of renewable energies threatens to get out of control," according to a joint declaration from Michael Fuchs (CDU), vice-chairman of the Union faction and Joachim Pfeiffer (CDU).

The expected increase in the EEG reallocation to between 3.66 and 4.74 euro cents per kilowatt hour in 2013 represents an alarming development, they explained. The German federal government had initially planned to not exceed 3.5 euro cents per kilowatt hour on a long-term basis. However, this target cannot be achieved under the current framework conditions, Fuchs and Pfeiffer add.

But the CDU economic policymakers overlook the fact that, above all, special arrangements for the industry are the reason for a continued increase in the amount of the EEG reallocation. Yet for Fuchs and Pfeiffer, photovoltaics alone is responsible.

"The transmission system operators anticipate remuneration payments of over €10 billion alone for photovoltaics in 2016. That would be far more than half of the entire remuneration payments for renewable energies. There will only be lasting acceptance of renewable energies in Germany only if it is possible to stop the continued increase in the EEG reallocation," they state.

They demanded that the German federal government "immediately submit suggestions" on how the costs involved in the EEG reallocation can be limited. This demand comes on the heels of a "Focus" report, according to which the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Ministry for the Environment aim to carry out a review by the end of January 2012, as to whether new installations of photovoltaic systems can be limited to one gigawatt annually.

"Solar history in particular cannot continue in this vein, a brake has to be quickly applied," Fuchs said in an interview with the dpa. He advocates subsidies for only 500, and at the most 1,000, megawatts per year for newly installed solar plants. "The prices for solar panels are dropping faster than we can reduce the subsidy. And that means the yield remains the same or increases," he added.

Furthermore, above all it is the Chinese solar industry that is being financed with the solar subsidy. "Only ten percent of the panels installed in Germany even come from Germany, the rest come from China,” asserts the CDU economic policymaker.

In their joint declaration, Fuchs and Pfeiffer referred in particular to the "above average high energy prices" for German industry. The fact that this is not true, is shown by the development of electricity prices based on the data published by the German Federal Ministry of Economics.

While there has only been a marginal increase in electricity prices for energy-intensive companies in recent years, private households have been forced to bear ever greater costs. This development will probably continue in the years to come. Consequently, the German Renewable Energy Federation warned that the costs of the EEG reallocation will be shouldered by ever fewer participants because, above all, increasing numbers of industrial companies are withdrawing from the group of reallocation payers.