Germany installs 450 MW of solar in December

Data from Germany’s Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) has revealed that Germany added more than 441 MW of new solar PV systems in December 2016, largely driven by small-scale PV systems. A further 64.57 MW of capacity, spread across 14 new solar parks issued mainly under tender, were also realized during December.

The official data lists a total of 3,565 new PV systems on the installation register, comprising 376.45 MW of additional solar power to be installed. In December alone, 2,141 plants came online, accounting for 334.8 MW.

The Bonn-based authority calculates that solar PV additions in Germany last year reached 1,542.5 MW, which is slightly higher than 2015’s installation figures. This end-of-year rally is largely due to tumbling solar module costs in Europe, which has made solar a far more cost-attractive option today than it has been for some while.

Aiding this new low-cost reality is Germany’s EEG 2017, which has introduced a new mechanism this year intended to allow the Energiewende to respond more quickly to installation rates – be they running higher or lower than the politically mandated annual target of 2.5 GW of new PV per year.

This target was based on reported figures from the second half of 2016, a sum that amounted to 1,012.6 MW. Doubled, this would reach beyond 2 GW for the entire year. Thus, the solar FIT for systems up to 750 kW, as well as the revenue cap, remains at the September 2015 level despite speculation that subsidies for solar may increase – with December’s strong demand, this is no longer on the cards.

By the end of April, a FIT will continue to apply for residential solar installations (and those applications fitted to noise barriers across Germany) up to 100 kW of between 10.69 and 12.30 euro cents/kWh. The FIT for large scale solar power plants will remain at 8.51 euro cents/kWh, and for C&I installations it will continue to be set between 8.91 and 12.70 euro cents/kWh depending on size.

This article was edited and translated by Ian Clover.