German PV array halt warning

A too rapid reduction of feed-in tariffs (FITs) is all but ending the installation of solar arrays in Germany, limiting the solar market to rooftop systems, the German industry federation BSW Solar claims.

After a market collapse this year, almost no more solar arrays are in planning for 2014, the BSW says.

The urgency of the BSW’s warning became apparent today as Freiburg-based solar developer SAG Solarstrom said it will file for insolvency after refinancing negotiations failed. One of Solarstrom’s main business areas is the installation of large solar arrays.

“The reduction of support below the critical 10-cent-mark is coming too early,” BSW managing director Carsten Körnig says.

FITs for solar arrays of up to 10MW as of 1 January 2014, will go down to €0.947 per kilowatt hour, the BSW says. Larger solar parks don’t receive support in Germany, nor do solar arrays built on previous agricultural lands.

“If politics won’t readjust (support) rapidly, the build-up of solar arrays, that is so important for the Energiewende, will come close to a complete standstill in the coming two years.”

Germany in 2012 enacted steep cuts to solar support, installing a system of monthly degression for FITs that get steeper if new installations exceed government targets.

Since 2009, support for ground-based PV arrays has plummeted by between 60% and 7ß%, it is claimed. In 2013 alone, the installation of solar arrays in consequence has fallen by 64%.

Even the rapid plunge in PV module prices hasn’t been able to keep pace with the cuts in support, the solar federation said.