German solar installers expect massive market contraction this year


The German PV market may see a strong drop in newly installed solar power this year, after registering growth of around 4 GW last year. This is the conclusion of a new survey by EuPD Research involving German solar installers. However, the main reason given for the anticipated slowdown is not the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, but legislation in the German renewable energy market.

Although the German PV market continued to grow at a sustained pace over the first three months of this year, the survey has shown that over the course of the months to come, a strong decline in commercial and industrial PV installations is expected. This is mainly due to fears that the 52 GW cap will not be removed for the feed-in tariff scheme for solar installations up to 750 kW in size.

For the rest of this year, installers expect a further increase in demand for small systems up to 10 kW in size, but they also believe there will be a decrease of 31% for larger commercial systems and even a 53% drop for industrial projects. This will have a particularly drastic impact on the PV market in Germany. According to EuPD Research analysts, commercial PV accounted for 1.1 GW of newly deployed capacity last year, while industrial installations reached around 1.7 GW.

Political standstill

The results of the survey clearly show that concerns about the 52 GW cap, rather than the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, could have a much stronger influence on the commercial and industrial segments.

“The political standstill in the abolition of the solar cap is a further step toward the end of the German energy transition,” said Markus Hoehner, CEO of EuPD Research. He said that climate protection, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, should be accepted and treated as global challenges. Representatives of solar companies also expect this.

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“The tactical negotiation game within the coalition, which has been going on for months, can no longer continue on the back of the solar sector,” said Alexander Schütt, managing director of BayWa re Solar Energy Systems, adding that the abolition of the 52 GW cap could give businesses a long-term perspective.

Peter Thiele, president of Sharp Energy Solutions Europe and a German Solar Industry Association board member, argued that the removal of the cap will be important for both the industry and medium-sized companies, as well as society.

“The PV cap is choking off a domestic industry that is one of the growth engines of German industry and provides wages and bread for more than 100,000 people. Despite corona, our order books are full – we do not need any bailout packages from the politicians. We just require that they also keep their promises,” added Detlef Neuhaus, managing director of German manufacturer Solarwatt.

The three companies and storage provider E3/DC cooperated with EuPD Research on the survey.

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