26 Apr 2024, 13:30
Sören Amelang

Solar industry welcomes German parliament’s approval of measures to boost PV technology

Clean Energy Wire

A package of measures to boost the use of solar energy in Germany by removing red tape, approved by parliament on Friday (26 April), will significantly accelerate the rollout of the technology, industry associations have said. “Whether for tenants, property owners, farmers or entrepreneurs - access to affordable solar power is becoming much easier,” Carsten Körnig, head of the country’s solar industry association BSW-Solar, said. “From small plug-in solar devices on balconies to solar power plants on industrial buildings and solar parks in the megawatt-range – the solar power harvest can now continue to increase,” Körnig said. The lobby group said many more businesses and industrial companies are now set to install solar power systems in order to reduce energy costs and make supply more predictable. Renewable energy association BEE called the package a “milestone for the energy transition.”

Almost four million solar power systems currently operate in Germany and cover around 12 percent of domestic electricity consumption, according to BSW-Solar. The group said further measures were needed to reach the government target of increasing the share of solar to around 30 percent in ten years' time. The government aims to add up to 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar per year – a significant increase over recent expansion rates (14 GW in 2023, 7.5 GW in 2022).

Germany's three-party government coalition in April agreed the package after months of wrangling earlier. The measures include subsidy top-ups and an easing of rules around the installation of small balcony solar systems. It also makes more land available for solar parks by opening up poor farmland to ground-mounted systems. The German Society for Solar Energy (DGS) said the measures would boost photovoltaics across all areas of application. “The use of plug-in solar devices will be greatly simplified so that even more homeowners and tenants will be able to easily utilise this technology,” the lobby group’s head, Jörg Sutter, said. He added that it will also improve the cost-effectiveness of larger photovoltaic systems by simplifying certification. The measures could also result in significant power price drops and could increase periods with negative power prices when it is sunny, experts said earlier this week.

A "resilience bonus," which would have rewarded customers for buying European-made solar products, was dropped from the package at the last minute, to the disappointment of parts of the solar industry, which said the government might have missed “perhaps the last chance for a renaissance of Germany’s solar industry”.

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