German Solar Energy On The Rise

Germany’s solar energy output defied government subsidy cuts to rise by a record 60% last year, according to the German Solar Industry Association BSW-Solar.

“Solar power has become an indispensable ingredient for the success of the energy transformation,” said Carsten Körnig, BSW-Solar’s chief executive.

The clean energy technology generated more than 18 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2011, BSW-Solar figures showed, enough to power the state of Thuringia – or 5.1 million households for a whole year.

The renewables surge comes despite a 13% cut in Germany’s solar subsidies last year, which will be augmented by a further 24% reduction in 2012, implemented in two phases.

Yet because of sharp oil and gas price increases, coupled with price falls in solar technology, Körnig predicted that by 2014, solar power would not need any more government support than ocean-based wind-farms.

“What the solar industry now needs are reliable political conditions,” he said. “This is indispensable for the continued expansion of renewable energy sources and for maintaining an attractive climate of investment in Germany.”

BSW-Solar has called on the government not to tinker with the German government’s proposals for a phase-down of subsidies. 

Since 2007, solar panel prices in Germany have already fallen by close to 50%.

Solar power currently contributes some 3% of Germany’s electricity supply, but this is forecast to grow to around 10% by 2020.

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