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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Solar Energy: Germany's Sudden Drop In Tariffs

Usually presented as a consultative model, the German method surprises us this time by its brutality and magnitude of the cuts announced.

After Italy and France, and while the British government is fighting to impose a similar measure, it is Germany’s turn to announce an imminent and sharp decline of its feed-in tariffs for electricity from photovoltaic origin. Announced for March 9, or within two weeks and four months ahead of schedule, this fall will be at 20-29%, depending on the facilities, two times larger than initially planned.

As a consequence, it will be 13.5 cents per kilowatt/hour (kWh) for ground stations up to 10 megawatts (MW) and between 1 and 10 MW. Beyond 10 MW, no central recorded after July 1 will receive any subsidy. Installations on roofs less than 1 MW will be paid 16.5 cents per kWh and those below 10 KW will receive 19.5 cents per kWh. In addition, the tariffs reduction will be spread spaciously over time, on a monthly basis.

German Industrialists Vulnerable

Usually presented (including French manufacturers) as a model of anticipation and cooperation for the development of these tariffs, the country seems to take this time a step back. About fifty of them, including Solarworld and inverter manufacturer SMA, has also demonstrated Friday, the day after the announcement, brandishing the threat of thousands of job losses. And stock prices of major industry players have lost 5% to 10%.

Faced with these protests, ministers argue that the previous rate cuts did not prevent the country to install 7.5 GW per year in 2010 and 2011, for an additional cost of nearly $ 8 billion in the bill of consumer.

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