25 Mar 2024, 13:37
Julian Wettengel

German treasury rejects additional large-scale state support for solar PV industry

ARD / Tagesspiegel Background

The head of Germany's treasury, finance minister Christian Lindner, has reiterated his opposition to more state support for Germany's domestic solar industry. In an interview with public broadcaster ARD, Lindner confirmed his party's opposition to a so-called resilience bonus, which would be paid to customers deciding to buy products made in Germany. "We are already investing billions of German taxpayers' money in renewable energies and now the task is to ensure that the extremely rapid growth in photovoltaics is actually integrated into the electricity grid," the minister said, adding that solar PV modules – of which China is the dominant manufacturer – "are not high tech." Large-scale production should therefore not be supported by the state. "If I were to use taxpayers' money to support individual companies here, this would have no effect on the resilience of Germany as a business location or on the success of the energy transition," Lindner argued.

ARD had reported that the resilience bonus would not be introduced due to opposition by Lindner's pro-business party Free Democrats (FDP). State governments and many solar power companies had advocated the concept in recent months, while other industry actors others rejected the idea. Germany plans to triple its solar power capacity by 2030, and the EU is considering the introduction of quotas for domestic solar technology production with its Net-Zero Industry Act. Energy policy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background reported that the German federal government aims to speed up the regulation's implementation to allow governments to apply criteria other than the price in renewable power auctions. These include the contribution to environmental sustainability, to innovation or to the integration of energy systems and will have to apply to at least 30 percent of the volume auctioned every year per member state.

Although the demand for solar power systems is higher than ever, the supply of cheaper Chinese PV modules has caused prices to fall. Swiss solar module maker Meyer Burger recently announced its intention to wind up panel production in Germany, citing “grave market distortion” and better investment conditions in the U.S. as the main reasons.

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