Germany: High of 3,000 MW in December alone


The Federal Network Agency estimates these figures based on a preliminary analysis of reported data. Thus, the 2010 record year’s 7,400 MW is expected to be slightly, but nevertheless, exceeded. Matthias Kurth, president of the Federal Network Agency says, "In December alone, our new PV plants were reported to have a total of 3,000 MW capacity – a new record."

However these are still preliminary numbers and the many reports in December means that the agency will take some time for the months of October through December to be evaluated in detail. On the basis of the reports, the agency has been regularly determining the degressions and payment rates for newly operational PV systems, in accordance with the specifications of the German Renewable Energies Act or EEG.

Next the degression and payment rates for installations that go into operation in July this year will be determined. The reported capacity of PV installations between October 2011 and April 2012 will be used in the calculations, which highly attributes to the one year period.

"Just for the last quarter of 2011, we recorded an additional build-up of approximately 4,150 MW. This value will already lead to a gradual degression of 12 percent. In order to achieve a maximum degression of 15 percent in July, with the current stand, the Federal Network Agency sees the need for about 255 MW of new PV capacity to be reported between for January to July 2012," adds Kurth.

The values of October (approximately 490 MW), November (660 MW) and December (3,000 MW) are important for determining the degression rates on 1 January 2013. Therefore, it comes down to the announcements between October 2011 and September 2012. Here too, the first conclusions can be derived: the 4,150 MW in the last quarter of 2011 would already lead to a degression of 12 percent. To achieve the maximum possible reduction of subsidies by 24 percent, 3,350 MW would have to be reported in the next nine months.

"The experience thus far shows that the deadline mechanism contributes significantly to increasing the annexing of PV systems shortly before the decreasing of subsidies. The effect counteracts the goal of the legislature, to effectively limit the promotion of solar energy. In any case, the development of PV has not slowed down despite the recent funding cuts and it is also very probable that we will very likely see a similar PV development-boom in June 2012, despite cuts, just like we did in December," Kurth adds.

Kurth also believes that one reason may be that the prices are falling faster than the decreases in subsidy rates. If the annual addition of PV installations remains in the 7,500 MW range, then the framework scenario for network expansion planned for 2022 would be achieved much earlier. And even by end of 2015. To conclude from this development would be something for the legislature according to Kurth.

The detailed figures for October to December 2011 are expected to be released in March on the website of the Federal Network Agency.