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24 Mar 2020, 14:30
Benjamin Wehrmann

Solar power industry directly addresses Merkel in bid to remove looming support cap

Clean Energy Wire

About 2,000 companies from Germany's solar power and wider energy industry have signed a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel calling for an immediate removal of the looming support cap for new solar PV installations. The legal process to do away with the cap of 52 gigawatts (GW) total installed capacity needs to be started as quickly as possible, the companies, including solar power association BSW and energy industry group BDEW, say. The letter argues that the limit value could already be attained this summer, and that removing the cap would not only be an "easy" measure to quell the economic impact of the current coronavirus outbreak but is also needed to avoid a "carelessly induced" expansion stop for solar power. "The solar and storage industry increasingly has to contribute to supply security, too," says BSW head Carsten Körnig. Kerstin Andreae, head of BDEW, says all the current economic aid measures to businesses struggling with the corona crisis will be in vain if they run into "outdated" regulatory hurdles at the same time. Merkel announced the cap would be removed in November 2019, but has so far failed to deliver on implementation. "Renewable energy sources are an important sector of the economy. Employees in the industry must not become pawns in energy policy quarrels," Andreae says.

The cap on solar power support and other hurdles to renewable energy expansion, particularly onshore wind power, have ailed the country's energy transition for months and threaten to jeopardise the country's emissions reduction and renewable energy targets. The federal government and the 16 states were supposed to negotiate a way out of the renewables impasse when emergency measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak shook up policymakers' agendas in mid-March.

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