The Federal Network Agency of Germany (Bundesnetzagentur) on January 31 released its latest photovoltaic solar (PV) installation count, as well as the latest feed-in tariff (FiT) reduction figures.
Despite the fact that only 330 MW of solar power plants were commissioned in December 2012, a new installation record was set that year — a whopping 7.6 GW of photovoltaic power plants were installed and connected to the electricity grid, a new record.
The annual solar PV plant installation rate was previously 2.5 GW to 3.5 GW, making 2012 installations over 2 and maybe even 3 times greater than the average. Notably, in each 2010 and 2011, Germany also saw about 7.5 GW installed, helping to make it the world’s clear solar power leader.
PV-Magazine aptly notes that attacks on and resulting changes to solar subsidies have artificially triggered solar industry growth:
“However, it is often overlooked that politics, via its constant attacks on solar subsidies, have contributed to the strong expansion of photovoltaics in Germany. Indeed, contrary to the objective of limiting expansion, the federal government has repeatedly triggered an artificial increase in demand for photovoltaic systems.”
Intuition implies that Germany’s solar industry would be weak due to the fact that it is a cloudy country. The cost of solar electricity is largely dependent on the average amount of sunlight a solar panel receives, and in Germany, it won’t receive much.
However, Germans actually pays much less for solar than more solar-endowed Americans due to big differences in customer acquisition, permitting, the solar supply chain, labor, and overhead costs. Solar is much cheaper in the cloudier country this time!
This article was originally published on CleanTechnica. Reproduced with permission