Kristina Shih, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Wednesday 16 January 2013]
Electricity prices in Germany continue to be high. The country has been striving for stable electricity supply in order to maintain economic growth. Therefore, developing renewable energy has been inevitable since the country announced plans to abolish nuclear power plants. Affected by geographical and weather factors, the average annual sunshine hours in Germany is 1,528 hours and most of the sunshine is concentrated in southern regions. The average annual sunshine hours in Germany is relatively low compared to other countries in Europe. But with government support and through the Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz (EEG) Act, Germany has become the world's biggest solar market. New installations in the country in 2012 have been estimated at between 7.6-7.8GW.
The government in Germany has been adjusting incentives in accordance with market installation costs and in July 2012, the revised EEG Act eliminated subsidies for projects larger than 10MW, while subsidies for solar PV system projects of other sizes were set dependent on installations and scheduled to be decreased every month. Starting in November 2012, subsidies for solar PV system projects of other sizes decreased by 2.5% each month and the incentive decrease for February 2013 will likely exceed 2.5%, according to Digitimes Research. The revised EEG ACT also stated that when installations reach 52GW, new policies will substitute the current feed-in-tariff (FIT) program.
Grid stability and safety have been the recent focus in Germany. Large-size solar PV systems need monitoring devices to adjust the amount of electricity sent to the grid. In the future, technological breakthroughs in back-up systems for solar power generation will be crucial to market development.