German PV market continues screech to a halt

German PV market continues screech to a halt

In the first third of 2015, Germany installed 416 MW of PV, roughly a third below the level during the same time frame of 2014, when (for the year as a whole) the market fell to a third of the level of 2012. Germany’s Network Agency has published the latest installation figures for April, when

In the first third of 2015, Germany installed 416 MW of PV, roughly a third below the level during the same time frame of 2014, when (for the year as a whole) the market fell to a third of the level of 2012.

Germany’s Network Agency has published the latest installation figures for April, when once again less than 100 megawatts was installed. When just over 18 megawatts of ground-mounted arrays are removed, less than 80 megawatts of building-integrated PV was added that month. This number is significant because it reflects the continued slow growth of systems that could benefit from grid parity; the price of solar power from new arrays is probably approaching a third the cost of power from the grid (retail) and is also competitive with commercial power rates. Yet, the market continues to shrink.

Average, Germany installed 104 MW per month in the first third of this year, which would produce around 1.2 GW for the year as a whole – far below the country’s official growth target. Depending on the specific outcome, the result would be a stabilization of feed-in tariffs for new systems; otherwise, they would normally drop each month for new arrays.

At the end of April, Germany had 38.7 GW of photovoltaics hooked up to the grid, equivalent to more than half of its usual peak demand in the summer. No other country comes close to such penetration levels. Indeed, given its grid size 1.2 GW is still fairly impressive for Germany. The US has a summer peak demand 10 times greater on a regular basis but has yet to install 12 GW – 10 times the current German level – in any year. Nonetheless, the decrease in Germany is tremendous – from 7.5 GW in 2012 to potentially 1.2 GW or less this year.

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