Germany: PV growth drops to lowest level since February 2011

Germany’s photovoltaic expansion has come to a virtual standstill after the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) amendment went into force in August.

Following the installation of 140 MW of new PV in August, the country’s Federal Network Agency has announced 110 MW — spread across 5,672 registered plants — for September. This is the lowest level since February 2011 and still below the level of installed PV capacity in February this year, which was similarly low. Since the low PV capacity figure in February 2011 was due primarily to weather conditions, one would have to look back even further to March 2009, when new installations reached 55 MW. The months thereafter saw new PV capacity levels of three to four figures.

Similar levels of new PV capacity in the near future are not unlikely. PV feed-in tariffs are due to fall again. For November and December, the Federal Network Agency has calculated a degression rate of 0.25% for FIT rates. In November, FITs for rooftop installations will range between 12.62 and 10.98 eurocents per kilowatt hour depending on the size of the system. Owners of roof systems larger than 500 kW will have to sell their generated solar power directly on the electricity market. The fixed revenue cap for the market premium model decreases parallel to the FIT rate. The price is €0.04 per kilowatt hour higher, corresponding to the higher management costs of electricity sales. For ground-mounted systems up to 500 kW, FIT rates are at 8.74 eurocents per kilowatt hour and for direct market sales for systems up to 10 MW, 9.14 eurocents per a kilowatt hour.

The introduction of direct market sales for PV systems larger than 500 kW in August has certainly had a negative impact on this market segment. In September, just 21 PV plants were registered with the Federal Network Agency with a capacity of between 500 kW and 10 MW.

The newly installed capacity in Germany from January to September 2014 increased to about 1.6 GW, which in turn is about half the installed PV capacity in all of 2013.

Translated by Edgar Meza