23 Apr 2024, 14:12
Benjamin Wehrmann

German solar industry warns “last chance” for sector’s renaissance could be missed

Clean Energy Wire

Representatives of Germany’s renewable power industry have criticised the government’s planned legislation package for expanding the capacity of solar, wind and other renewable energy technologies in the country. At a parliamentary hearing, Carsten Körnig, head of solar power lobby group BSW, said the package would help bring the energy transition to inner cities by facilitating the participation of tenants and landlords. However, he added that the solar industry was disappointed by the decision to leave out a “resilience bonus” for installations made in Europe. Given the stiff competition between producers in the U.S. and Asia for securing a share of the market in solar panel production, Körnig said including the bonus in the package would allow Germany to achieve greater supply security for the important future technology, adding that it is “perhaps the last chance for a renaissance of Germany’s solar industry”. The government’s aim of adding up to 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar installations per year means significantly increasing the expansion in comparison to previous years (14GW in 2023, 7.5 GW in 2022). According to Felix Schmidt of environmental group WWF, this will require a much more consistent use of urban areas for solar power production. The package of legislation should therefore make roof-mounted solar panels a standard for new buildings, Schmidt argued. Philipp Schröder, head of energy company 1KOMMA5°, cautioned that distribution grids must be modernised to accommodate flexible demand and supply management. Time-sensitive grid fees that factor in the degree of utilisation at different times of the day would be a key building block.

Fachverband Biogas, a bioenergy lobby group, said the package lacked provisions to prevent the decommissioning of thousands of biogas production plants due to low auction volumes. Installations with an output of up to 34 terawatt hours (TWh) of renewable power, and 23 TWh renewable heat, could be affected if the auctioned volume for guaranteed support is not increased, warned Guido Erhardt, representative of the Fachverband Biogas.

After months of wrangling, Germany's three-party coalition in the week before agreed the raft of measures to boost the expansion of solar PV and other renewables in the country, for which parliament must still give its approval. A "resilience bonus," which would have rewarded customers for buying European-made solar products, was missing from the final package. The bonus, which had been a key element for the Green Party, was intended to protect Europe's ailing domestic solar industry in the face of cheap competition from China.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
« previous news next news »


Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee